Although this tale is somewhat disjointed, its tender bonhomie compensates. A boy, Daniel, happens across an enormous pink slipper at the foot of a huge mango tree. He clambers in and is hoisted aloft, where he meets Mangaboom—all 19 feet and 682 pounds of her—who tells him of her favorite pastimes: skinny-dipping and turning cartwheels. Two pieces of mail arrive with Daniel: an invitation to her aunt's for tea with three bachelor giants, and a love letter from someone named Grizwaldo. He begs Mangaboom to write, but before she can retrieve his address on the envelope, her goat eats it up. Crestfallen, Mangaboom heads off with Daniel to tea, where her suitors turn out to be dreadful rubes. Happily for Mangaboom, but unhappily for any potential drama surrounding the lost address, Grizwaldo writes the next day, saying he'll drop by that evening. Daniel takes his leave, though not without getting a glimpse of Grizwaldo (who looks a great deal like a giant Daniel). On the saucily suggestive last page, it looks as though they'll go skinny-dipping that night. Snippets of Spanish give this story an exotic air, and the affection the storyteller has for her characters is evident, even though a plot is not. Lobel's gouaches give a heroic touch to the proceedings, with Mangaboom's colossalness often bleeding right off the page. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-12956-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...


Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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For the 90's, a handsome, well-documented collection of stories about nine uniquely American characters. In her intelligent introduction, Osborne explains their genesis ``from various combinations of historical fact, the storytelling of ordinary people, and the imagination of professional writers'' and notes that changing times put a new light on stories deriding various groups (including women and even animals). Thus her intention is to emphasize ``gargantuan physical courage and absurd humor'' and to ``bring out the vulnerable and compassionate side'' despite the stories' ``ineradicable taint of violence.'' Osborne succeeds pretty well in her intention, piecing together stories that make fine introductions to characters like Mose and Stormalong. Her approach suits Johnny Appleseed and John Henry better than it does Davy Crockett battling a panther, but she does manage to put a new slant on Pecos Bill and his bouncing bride without undermining the story (there's no question of a wife's disobedience here; Sue wants to ride Bill's horse as a test of skill). The telling is more polished than lively—Glen Rounds's irrepressible wit (Ol' Paul, the Mighty Logger, 1949) is more fun, but these versions are perfectly acceptable. McCurdy's vigorous wood engravings, tinted with lucid color, contribute a rugged frontier flavor; lively, though a bit formal in style, they suit the text admirably. Each story is introduced by source notes; a story-by-story bibliography provides a good roundup of this popular genre. (Folklore. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-679-80089-1

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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