JUST ONE MORE STORY by Jennifer Brutschy


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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While they may not be the most conventional family, “The Swamp Snakes” do have their traditions. Every night, no matter what, Austin’s father tells him a story before bed; by day, the family performs in front of big crowds in small towns across the country (“Dad played fiddle, Mom sang country-western, and Austin banged the tambourine”). But when they stay in Uncle Roy’s two-story house in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a misunderstanding rewrites the bedtime ritual in Brutschy’s (Celeste and Crabapple Sam, o.p., etc.) clever effort. In an energetic watercolor vignette, Smith (No More Nasty, 2001, etc.) portrays Austin jumping on the bed demanding two bedtime stories. “ ‘Hey, you know the rules,’ [says] Dad. ‘Just one story at bedtime.’ ” “ ‘But . . . this is a two-story house,’ ” says Austin. On the next page, the full-bleed illustration shows Austin peering down a darkened staircase while his father explains what a two-story house really means. But he indulges Austin anyway; after all, it’s not often that they spend a night away from their tiny trailer. It will be back to normal the next night. But when the family wins a fiddling contest, they decide to splurge by staying in an 11-story hotel. Young readers will easily predict the outcome: the final spread shows Austin asleep in bed with 11 story bubbles floating above his head. Brutschy makes this unusual family seem familiar; and in a welcome change of pace, Smith portrays the family with brown skin and dark hair. While it’s open to interpretation, the family appears to be Hispanic. All in all, it’s a good yarn and a nice addition to multicultural collections. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-31767-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002


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