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THE TERRIBLE HODAG AND THE ANIMAL CATCHERS by Caroline Arnold

THE TERRIBLE HODAG AND THE ANIMAL CATCHERS

By Caroline Arnold (Author) , John Sandford (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-59078-166-X
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Arnold places upper-Midwestern tall-tale figures at the center of an original story about a group of loggers defending a friendly monster from a trio of inept collectors. The huge Hodag might have (as Arnold repeatedly notes) “the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur and tail of an alligator,” but it’s actually a mild-mannered creature with a fondness for blueberries. In consequence, when zookeepers arrive to capture it, logger Olee Swenson and his crew carefully misdirect them, helping the Hodag to muddle its trails to boot. Sandford illustrates with strong-lined black and white caricatures that look like wood engravings, portraying the Hodag as described (more or less—he never does get the glowing eyes quite right). The loggers are appropriately burly and the hunters are citified fools, who are—ultimately—tricked into falling into their own Hodag trap and are suddenly eager to promise to go away and never return. The telling is a bit stiff, but this Hodag, unlike the ones in older yarns and doctored photographs, seems more friendly than fearsome, and tales about it are rare enough that it may be new to young readers. (Picture book. 6-8)