AN OUTLAW THANKSGIVING

Into a true account of an unusual 1896 Thanksgiving McCully (Beautiful Warrior, 1998, etc.) inserts Clara Maher and her mother, traveling from New York to Utah to join Clara's father before they go on to California. Early in the adventure, Clara spots a wanted poster for Butch Cassidy_a man who never kills anyone, and who gives to the needy, according to a newsboy. When the train is snowbound, the passengers have to take shelter in hotels until the tracks are cleared. Clara and her mother travel by sleigh to Brown's Hole, Utah, where a group of friendly ranchers serves a splendid Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, oyster dressing, olives, fresh tomatoes, and crispy lettuce are on the menu, and the presence of fresh produce (to readers) in such a frozen landscape is more surprising than the presence of Butch Cassidy, one of the hosts, recognized only by Clara. He gives Clara a wink and a silver dollar, which she says she will treasure. Several days later, when the snow is cleared from the tracks, the outlaws take Clara and her mother back to the train and they continue westward. McCully concludes with a note on the historical basis for the tale. The snowy watercolor illustrations are charming as are the many illustrations of warm and friendly outlaws; the story may be predictable, but it includes moments of exhilarating adventure. (map) (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8037-2197-8

Page Count: 37

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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