Miller and Lloyd team up for another rollicking tall-tale adventure (Davy Crockett Gets Hitched, 2009).
While gathering onions on a bone-cold morning in woods so thick the sun can’t shine through, Miss Sally Ann Thunder, dressed in her best bear fur, and Fireeyes, the “hugeceously smart and mean as tarnation” panther, come face to face, each coveting the other’s coat to keep out the winter chill. The rip-roaring battle that ensues changes the world around them—a new gorge is formed, skunks lose their stripes, the Milky Way curdles—but neither is able to gain the upper hand. By the next morning’s light, they stop to appreciate each other's fine fighting skills…and smile at one another, suddenly great friends. Fireeyes lives with Miss Sally Ann now, helping around the house and lying on her feet to keep them warm in the winter, her best bear fur around his shoulders. Miller’s rambunctious read-aloud is peppered with word itching to be shared—thunderific, swaggerous, conbobberation, terrifiacious, ripsnorting, as well as the delightful, though too-often-repeated, varmint. Lloyd’s acrylic artwork masterfully conveys texture, each hair on the panther and needle on the evergreens sharply defined. Miss Sally Ann’s larger-than-life personality comes through as she wrestles with the giant cat, though some readers may have trouble with her pioneer attitudes: She collects eagle eggs for eggnog and wants to kill the panther just for his pelt.
Still, another solid addition to tall-tale collections. (Picture book/tall tale. 4-8)