DESERT ROSE AND HER HIGHFALUTIN HOG

An old English folktale gets a Texas makeover. Desert Rose is one plucky Texan pig farmer. When she finds a gold nugget, she uses it to procure a pig. She picks a pig sure to win first prize at the state fair. The problem is that she picks a picky pig, a highfalutin’ hog that will not drink up the water in the creek so they can make their way to the fair. She pleads for help from many desert animals, but none will help her until she strikes a bargain with an ambitious armadillo with attitude. Hooooooeeeeeey! This partic’lar offering combines regional dialogue and a sophisticated vocabulary in the name of tongue-twisting, folksy fun. Graves’s rich and vibrant acrylic illustrations add to the charm by giving all the characters, human and animal alike, plenty of personality. The plot, lifted nearly lock, stock and barrel from Joseph Jacobs’s “The Old Woman and the Pig,” is pretty bare bones, but readers will be so focused on the prose and on plucky Desert Rose, they probably won’t notice. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9883-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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