As usual, Lester's prose is fine and funny read-aloud, but the creative interplay of text and pictures doesn't reach the...

SAM AND THE TIGERS

A sassy retelling of Little Black Sambo, set in the imaginary land of Sam-sam-sa-mara, where animals are people, too, and all the humans are named Sam.

When young Sam and his parents, Sam and Sam, go into town to buy school clothes, he chooses the brightest colors he can find. No sooner does he set off down the road than he begins to lose his finery to a succession of tigers—by the last, instead of "I'm going to eat you up," the tigerly greeting is, "You know the routine." The proud tigers meet up, squabble until they melt down, and end up as pancakes on the Sams' table. Pinkney gives the tale a verdant setting in which even trees have faces and almost every creature, from elephants to insects, is clothed in turn-of-the-century garb. Also, unlike Fred Marcellino, whose paintings for a deftly edited reissue of the tale (The Story of Little Babaji, p. 1044) follow the original's more closely, Pinkney chooses not to show the tigers strutting their stuff; the net result is to rob the story of much of its broad irony.

As usual, Lester's prose is fine and funny read-aloud, but the creative interplay of text and pictures doesn't reach the heights of this team's John Henry (1994). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-2028-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

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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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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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