A child’s urge to tinker brings her entire class to the brink of disaster—and, happily, back. Everyone starts out to school dressed in their best, but they take on an increasingly spotty look after Josephina Caroleena Wattasheena the First sprays them with oil while disassembling the school bus’s gear shift; with pencil shavings when she deconstructs the pencil sharpener; then water as she plumbs the sprinkler system’s mysteries; and finally soot from the bowels of the boiler. The rather twee photographer—“ ‘Everyone, say cheesy wheezy, if you pleasy’ ”—has troubles too, as he struggles to get the children together, only to discover that his camera is kaflooie. Sounds like a job for you-know-who. Wickstrom fills his cartoon classroom scenes with gap-toothed, square-mouthed grins, and gives his dark-skinned engineer-in-training both a tool chest and an expression of fierce concentration. Young readers, with or without a mechanical vocation, will laugh at Josephina Caroleena Wattasheena the First’s compulsive “fidgeting, fiddling, fuddling, and foodling,” as well as the decidedly unusual class portrait that ultimately results. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-525-46886-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008



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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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