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OLD GRANNY AND THE BEAN THIEF by Cynthia DeFelice

OLD GRANNY AND THE BEAN THIEF

By Cynthia DeFelice (Author) , Cat Bowman Smith (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-35614-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

DeFelice reshapes a folktale with a Southwestern flavor. After an unseen thief nicks her beans three nights running, Granny marches off to tell the Sheriff. On the way, she encounters a water snake, a pecan, a cow patty, a prickly pear, and an alligator—all of whom address her politely and suggest that she take them home with her. Listeners will quickly pick up her repeat, “In a pig’s eye!,” and laugh when all do accompany her home (the Sheriff having gone fishing) to arrange themselves in strategic positions for the thief’s next visit. Smith uses a muddy palette, but captures the story’s humor in Granny’s theatrically exaggerated gestures and the smiling faces of her low-slung new allies. As in all the variations on “Bremen Town Musicians,” the elaborately drawn-out set-up leads to a quick, rousing climax in which the malefactor (here, a raccoon) gets a lesson he won’t soon forget. A fresh take on a reliable crowd-pleaser. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-9)