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Incorporating details from Mexican legends, McAlister offers a version of a story that explains how molé, a blend of chocolate, chili peppers and spices usually served on turkey, was created. The tasty dish was probably eaten in Aztec times, but several tales connect its origins to religious brothers or sisters preparing food fit to serve a Spanish viceroy. In this version, the friars scurry around, chopping chilies, cutting chocolate and grinding cinnamon. Carlos, a fictional hungry kitchen boy, tries to grab a falling bun and trips the legendary character, Brother Pascual, as he carries the ingredients for many different sauces and desserts. The unlikely combination of chocolate and savory spices falls into the turkey pot, and the rest is culinary history. The funny, economically told story would be easy for children to retell or dramatize, but Czernecki, who usually does a fine job illustrating folktales, depicts Carlos as a cartoon-like character with a tiny sombrero perched on his head. While stylistically in keeping with the brothers, the bishop and the viceroy, all rendered in bold simple shapes on bright white backgrounds, Carlos looks like a throwback to the touristy images of Mexican peasants of earlier decades—what a shame! (author’s note with sources) (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-87483-775-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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