Today’s kids might not know the name of Daniel Boone (or what a coonskin cap is), but this original tall tale explains why Boone wore that distinctive hat as a boy, and why he stopped wearing it, too. Glass (The Sweetwater Run: The Story of Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express, 1996, etc.) has crafted another original tall tale in his series of self-illustrated picture books for older readers that each describe an exciting fictionalized event in the younger days of an American folk hero. In this well-written tale full of frontier-flavored expressions, young Daniel Boone is growing up as a Quaker boy in Pennsylvania with a Delaware Native American companion who helps Daniel become an accomplished woodsman at a young age. On one of Boone’s solo rambles through the forest, he is surprised by an enormous “malodorous” bear who takes off with the coonskin cap (which was probably quite malodorous as well!). Daniel tracks the bear until he is chased by a group of Native Americans who shoot arrows at him and throw a tomahawk or two, terrifying the young Boone. Alert readers will notice that they are carrying Daniel’s cap, trying to return it to him. In the best tall-tale tradition, Daniel leaps off a cliff, swims down a river, and hides in a log with a raccoon family (the reason for giving up the coonskin cap), before finding his way back home after being “bewildered for three days.” Glass’s glowing full-page and double-page illustrations in colored pencil and oil pastels capture Daniel’s boisterous nature and action-packed adventures, but some will object to the rather stereotypical portrayal of the Native Americans in both art and text. An author’s note includes extensive information on the sources and research for the story; a bibliography and map of key sites are also included. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1446-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2000

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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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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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