SIXTEEN MILES TO SPRING

Pelletier’s lovely and carefree story, supplied with Krenina’s lovely, iridescent art, tells of the coming of spring, that special moment when the air imparts a note of change. Here, two odd fellows named Wilbur and Wiley signal it to Maddy and her father, who are on the way to the garden store. The two gents are driving a jade-green jalopy, with the legend “Sixteen Miles to Spring” painted on the door. They explain to Maddy and her dad that they are making their way north from the Deep South, just that many miles a day. The first hint of something unusual about them comes when Wiley releases a hatful of butterflies into the countryside. He holds up a finger and cocks his head: “Here she comes.” “Right on time,” replies Wilbur, and a soft wind ushers in a spring rain. The men bring out a sack and all four toss its seeds and sparkles and dirt into the now-blustery rain, and spring blooms forth in a grand entrance. Wiley and Wilbur hop back in their truck and push on, inviting Maddy to find them again—she knows how far they’ll be. Richly imaginative, with the harbingers of spring quirky enough, yet equally recognizable, to impart a sense of the magic in store for all of us. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8075-7388-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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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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