by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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A husband-and-wife team reconfigures a classic with a hefty dose of Texas twang and the lankiest cowpokes in history. “It ain’t much,” says Dan of the cat he inherits from his rodeo-clown father. But Puss aims to please. “You go on and get me a pair of cowboy boots,” says the anthropomorphized animal. “I got me a plan that’s gonna make you gladder than a mosquito at a blood bank and will keep me in sardines and sweet cream for life!” Huling’s accomplished watercolors reflect the colors of sun, sand, and desert wildflowers as Puss dupes an oil baron (Mr. Patoot) into thinking Dan’s a wealthy rancher, then orchestrates a love connection between Dan and the man’s daughter, Rosie May. In one full-bleed illustration, Dan, Mr. Patoot, and Rosie May relax on a picnic blanket after Mr. Patoot’s driver saves Dan from drowning; a vignette, opposite, shows the driver with a new suit and hat for Dan. By the time they get to town Mr. Patoot and Rosie May think Dan is loaded (Puss, who’s traveled ahead, convinces cowboys and oil workers to tell them Dan owns the livestock and rigs). When Puss tricks an ogre into turning himself into a mouse—so he can eat him—he claims the ogre’s castle for Dan. In the end, Rosie May and Dan are married. Will she still love him when she learns he’s a liar? Those in search of fairy-tale retellings will likely enjoy the Huling’s faithful adaptation. Even though it verges on verbose, this debut is sure to find a regional readership. And the illustrator is definitely a talent to watch. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-83119-6
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002