HOME ON THE RANGE

JOHN A. LOMAX AND HIS COWBOY SONGS

Interspersing her narrative with verses from “Home on the Range,” “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” “The Old Chisholm Trail” and like cowboy chestnuts, Hopkinson retraces the early career of the greatest collector and recorder of American folk songs ever. Taking minor liberties with the historical record (and compensating with a detailed afterword), she follows him from rural Texan childhood to the halls of Harvard, and then back out onto the trail, where, with a notebook and a primitive “Ediphone,” he gathered verses and performances from anyone who would sing for him. In Schindler’s atmospheric illustrations a dapper young man mingles comfortably with brushy-mustached, Stetson-topped cowpokes—and sits in one scene with a colorfully clad fortuneteller—in settings that are mostly wide, outdoorsy spreads of western prairie. Capped with a fuller picture of the work of Lomax and his son Alan, as well as enticing source notes, this account can’t help but broaden the insight of little dogies everywhere into the histories and meaning of these enduringly popular songs. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-23996-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

GEORGE CRUM AND THE SARATOGA CHIP

Spinning lively invented details around skimpy historical records, Taylor profiles the 19th-century chef credited with inventing the potato chip. Crum, thought to be of mixed Native-American and African-American ancestry, was a lover of the outdoors, who turned cooking skills learned from a French hunter into a kitchen job at an upscale resort in New York state. As the story goes, he fried up the first batch of chips in a fit of pique after a diner complained that his French fries were cut too thickly. Morrison’s schoolroom, kitchen and restaurant scenes seem a little more integrated than would have been likely in the 1850s, but his sinuous figures slide through them with exaggerated elegance, adding a theatrical energy as delicious as the snack food they celebrate. The author leaves Crum presiding over a restaurant (also integrated) of his own, closes with a note separating fact from fiction and also lists her sources. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58430-255-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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