CALLIE ANN AND MISTAH BEAR

In a variant of Wiley and the Hairy Man, San Souci (Peter and the Blue Witch Baby, p. 892, etc.) tells the story with characters speaking a slight dialect. Callie Ann thinks “good-natured hardworking Mose would make a fine stepdaddy.” But Callie Ann’s Mama “plans t’ marry a quality gennelman.” And when a stranger strolls up from the piney woods with a broad-brimmed hat, a fancy coat, and white spats, she invites him “inter the kitchen to sit a spell.” It is up to Callie Ann to expose Mistah Bear for the sweet-toothed varmint he is, and she does. But, Mistah Bear is vengeful and sends his two sisters, dressed in elegant finery, to trick Callie Ann into the woods. With tough advice from Mose, and her own quick wits, Callie Ann saves the day, but not before she is trapped in a tree. Daily’s picture-book debut is fairly successful; his illustrations in gouache present strong, colorful characters. The sister bears are especially fine in their elegant costumes complete with parasols, veils, and gloves. His softly rendered backgrounds are reminiscent of Jerry Pinkney’s work. The overall design of the book is pleasing, but some of the pictures are strangely static and posed rather than full of action. The typeface is formal, giving an old-fashioned sense to the tale. However, the capital letters have a heavy look to them and seem to jump out at the reader. This detracts from a uniform-looking text and mars a smooth integration of pictures and text. The lively text and story will be enjoyed by a group, though the dialect used by the characters might put some storytellers off. There are notes as to sources used, and the African and African-American background is further explained. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8037-1766-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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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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