Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Douglas Rees & illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-83020-3
Publisher: Atheneum

In this variation of the folk theme in which mortals cheat death, Grandy Thaxter is a sturdy old New Englander in a solid clapboard house and Mister Death is a tall, lanky old fellow dressed in black tails and top hat. Grandy quickly sets him to work cleaning the house, scrubbing the laundry, spinning flax into linen, and cooking dinner for the many children she minds. With aching muscles and burning blisters, Mister Death is always too tired to carry off the very sturdy Grandy and finally just gives up. The pen-and-ink drawings expressively convey the smug self-assuredness of the old lady and the increasing weariness of Death, but ultimately the conflict is so one-sided as to remove any suspense for the reader. There’s humor, for sure, as Grandy carefully spells out every single step required to complete the many household chores correctly. Those wanting a more gentle take on the tale will enjoy the read. (Picture book. 5-8)