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ARTHUR’S TRACTOR by Pippa Goodhart Kirkus Star


A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts

by Pippa Goodhart & illustrated by Colin Paine

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58234-847-2
Publisher: Bloomsbury

A dragon, a damsel in distress, and a knight in shining armor—recipe for a typical fairy tale? Not quite, thanks to the intrusion of a fussbudget farmer with a monumental case of tunnel vision. With eyes only for his beloved tractor, Arthur interprets the damsel’s squeaks, the knight’s thunderous arrival, and his clamorous fall, as calls to do a bit of maintenance on the sprocket spring sprigget, the bundle weaver, or some other temperamental agricultural gadget. Ignoring the fracas around him, Arthur carefully oils, curls, and sharpens, then, when needs must, enlists the combatants’ aid for a bit of dragon-fired spot welding, helped by an elegantly gowned new assistant whose name, as it turns out, is Edith. After she compliments Arthur on his “finely tuned and turned-out tractor,” and he notes that she’s rather well-tuned and turned out herself, the stage is set for a decidedly atypical Happily Ever After. With cheerfully effervescent pen and brushwork, Paine (Big George, 2001, etc.) places rumpled-looking figures into sunny rural scenes, through which scamper various small, recognizable folk-tale figures. This lighthearted spin-off chugs along as merrily as the shiny red tractor at the center of it all. (Picture book. 6-8)