TROLL TEACHER

Elizabeth’s new teacher is obviously a troll—the blue, hairy legs, long green nails, surly manner and utter ignorance (“ ‘Two plus two equals seventeen. . . . The capital of New York State is Bolivia’ ”) are dead giveaways. But every adult, from parents to Principal Boynik (“ ‘An excellent teacher. . . . Lucky we could get her’ ”) is in heavy denial, even when the evidence stands right before their eyes on Ice Cream Social Night. When Elizabeth tries to tell her folks, they respond in typical adult fashion. “ ‘Where does she get that?’ ” says Dad. Figuring out at last that the way to a troll’s heart is through its cast-iron stomach, Elizabeth brings in a filthy sock for “Miss Turtledove” to chew, sending her into such a giddy state that she slings Mr. Boynik over her shoulder and bounds away. Enter a substitute—with fangs, bright green skin, and a bat hanging from what is obviously a witch’s hat. Auch lightens the tone with cartoony scenes of anxious looking children, blandly smiling grownups, and a grimacing, purple-haired teacher clad in a series of hilariously unflattering outfits. No sign of Miss Nelson in this school, but every kid will recognize Elizabeth’s predicament. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1503-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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