LOOK OUT, JACK! THE GIANT IS BACK!

Clever Jack of English folklore has stolen the hen that lays golden eggs, the harp that sings, and bags of money. He has slain the giant who followed him down the beanstalk and lived happily ever after—not. In this fractured tale there is more to the story. Jack has sailed to America with his mother and the aforementioned purloined objects. All is well as they settle on a nice little farm in the mountains of North Carolina and “Life was good and peaceful, and oh so fragrant.” When the giant’s older brother arrives on the mountaintop, the story leaps into action. Birdseye’s (The Eye of the Stone, not reviewed, etc.) folksy style of storytelling uses an American vernacular full of tall-tale exaggerations and dramatic page turns. Jack has a plan to distract the giant from eating him by overfeeding him. And feed him he does—piles of fried chicken, heaps of boiled okra, one thousand biscuits, six hundred pounds of mashed potatoes and huge heaps of coleslaw. Chased with ninety-nine gallons of apple cider. The giant is so close to puking he can’t even move, let alone grab clever Jack. Kids will revel in the gross pictures and the equally disgusting belching and the giant’s secret weapon, stinky feet. Hillenbrand’s (Pre-School to the Rescue, p. 338, etc.) mixed media, illustrations—tempera, colored pencils, crayon, and oil paint on vellum—create an a soft almost marbleized palate of spring greens and changing skies. Great fun. (Picture book 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1450-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2001

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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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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