A TWISTED TALE

Fisher punches up a well-worn plot with vivid language and swirling modernist art that incorporates an equally wild hand-lettered text. After a twister that “howled like a prom queen steppin’ on a cow patty” passes, young Bailey discovers that the farm animals have switched identities: the pig’s quacking, the cow’s sitting on the nest, the duck is chewing its cud. What to do? The vet shrugs, hypnosis fails, even psychoanalysis (visualize that cow on a couch) doesn’t work. Finally, after a flash of inspiration, Bailey leads her mangled menagerie off to a carnival where a ride on (what else?) The Twister spins the animals back to their old selves. But Bailey comes out—curled. “Uh-oh,” her American Gothic parents mutter. Readers who find Causley’s “Quack,” Said the Billy Goat (1986), or Most’s Cow That Went Oink (1990) a trifle sedate won’t have that problem with this unrestrained solo debut. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81540-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

RAPUNZEL

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

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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