AND THE DISH RAN AWAY WITH THE SPOON

The creators of Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! (1999) spin off a freewheeling yarn from a familiar nursery rhyme, salting their tale with awful puns and peppering it with folktale references. When Dish and Spoon run away as they’re supposed to, but fail to come back, Cat, Dog, and Cow set off to track them down. (“Without Dish and Spoon, there’s no rhyme. No more diddle, diddle. It’s over.”) Following a giant, very funny map drawn for them by a Fork in the road, the seekers awaken Little Boy Blue, question a huge, lonely spider sitting on a certain tuffet, and are nearly served up by a Big Bad Wolf (in bunny slippers) before finding the errant table setting at last—at the foot of a certain beanstalk. Stevens fills her sprawling, exuberant pictures with hilarious details, from the lamb suit and red cloak hanging on Wolf’s coat rack to the trio of furry customers in dark glasses getting their tails reattached in Jack’s Repair Shop (“You blew it, I glue it”). Dish has suffered a great fall, but Jack nimbly puts her back together, and all leap back to their places just in time to resume (with a slight modification) their traditional roles. Required reading for all Jacks and Jills. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202298-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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DOG HEAVEN

Rylant's debut as a picture book illustrator (not to be confused with her board book debut as a collagist in The Everyday Books, 1993) offers sweet comfort to all who have lost loved ones, pets or otherwise. ``When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.'' There are geese to bark at, plenty of children, biscuits, and, for those that need them, homes. In page- filling acrylics, small, simply brushed figures float against huge areas of bright colors: pictures infused with simple, doggy joy. At the end, an old man leans on a cane as he walks up a slope toward a small white dog: ``Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like. . . .They will be there when old friends show up. They will be there at the door.'' Pure, tender, lyrical without being overearnest, and deeply felt. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-41701-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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