DIMITY DUMPTY

THE STORY OF HUMPTY’S LITTLE SISTER

Graham throws new light onto a familiar nursery rhyme, casting Humpty as the reckless scion of a family of circus acrobats, and giving him a very shy little sister who bravely comes through in the clutch. The writing and the art are equally exquisite. While the rest of her family is wowing crowds under the Big Top, Dimity takes her flute (made from a ball-point pen core) outdoors, to play “as soft as a snail on a cabbage leaf, / quiet as the grass growing on the hill.” Dimity’s retreat from the spotlight comes to a brief end, however, when her feckless sibling falls from a wall while spraying it with graffiti. Having competently splinted his broken leg and patched his leaky shell with her shirt, she dashes into the ring to plead for help from the crowd. The illustrations combine delicacy of line and color with lots of richly comic details, depicting the diminutive Dumptys and their comfortably appointed egg-carton trailer amid a full-sized circus, and giving Humpty a suitably raffish look. The tale’s entire cast pauses at the end to admire Dimity’s quiet courage, and listen as she plays, to quote the Ringmaster, “the music of the heavens.” You can almost hear it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7636-3078-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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