MARRIAGE OF THE RAIN GODDESS

The Zulu rain goddess is looking for a husband and none of the gods appeal to her—they are all ``too busy with their spears and shields.'' She flies down to earth and finds a cattle herder who strikes her fancy, and sends him her proposal in a dream. The cattle herder prepares everything for the wedding, while the goddess tests him first, by dressing up a mortal girl in wedding clothes, and shaving off her own hair and covering her face with ash. The groom, however, immediately recognizes the real bride, and the rain goddess knows that she has made the right choice. In Wolfson and Parms's first book, a flowing, incantatory text, inspired by a fragment of a Zulu myth, is encrusted with poetic epithets (``glistening in oil and golden bracelets, her face half-hidden by the twisted leaves''). An afterword describes a little more about Zulu culture and custom, e.g., the goddess gives the cattle herder a love letter in the form of a bead ornament. The big, heavy paintings are filled with expressive bodies and faces, depicted against wide, rainbow-colored backgrounds. So well are text and art wedded that readers will close the book and feel as if they are the ones who have been in a dream. (Picture book/folklore. 6-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56924-774-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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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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KEENA FORD AND THE FIELD TRIP MIX-UP

Keena Ford’s second-grade class is taking a field trip to the United States Capitol. This good-hearted girl works hard to behave, but her impulsive decisions have a way of backfiring, no matter how hard she tries to do the right thing. In this second book in a series, Keena cuts off one of her braids and later causes a congressman to fall down the stairs. The first-person journal format is a stretch—most second graders can barely write, let alone tell every detail of three days of her life. Children will wonder how Keena can cut one of her “two thick braids” all the way off by pretend-snipping in the air. They will be further confused because the cover art clearly shows Keena with a completely different hairdo on the field trip than the one described. Though a strong African-American heroine is most welcome in chapter books and Keena and her family are likable and realistic, this series needs more polish before Keena writes about her next month in school. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3264-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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