MISOSO

A treasure. If there were any doubts about Aardema's (Anasi Finds a Fool, 1992, etc.) preeminence as a teller of African tales, this collection puts them to rest. Ten outstanding picture books could easily have been made from these twelve tales. Though not all are folktales in the strict sense of the term, their humor, imagination, and vivid imagery create a satisfying unity that is underscored by the brilliantly quirky illustrations and tasteful design. Aardema's mastery of onomatopoeia and rhythmic accumulation make you feel as if she's right there feeding the story into your ear. Choosing a favorite is hard: How about ``Half-a-Ball-of- Kenki,'' the world's only story starring a partial serving of cornmeal mush? or ``Kindai and the Ape,'' an Emo-Yo-Quaim version of the Androcles and the Lion legend? or maybe ``The Sloogey Dog and the Stolen Aroma,'' a Fang tale that may have originated in Egypt and has shown up in Jewish folklore? Misoso comes complete with maps, glossaries, and source information, but don't tell kids it's educational, and they'll never know the difference. Read this book once for the stories, twice for the illustrations, and a hundred times just for fun. (Folklore/Stories. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-83430-3

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more