PUSS IN COWBOY BOOTS

A husband-and-wife team reconfigures a classic with a hefty dose of Texas twang and the lankiest cowpokes in history. “It ain’t much,” says Dan of the cat he inherits from his rodeo-clown father. But Puss aims to please. “You go on and get me a pair of cowboy boots,” says the anthropomorphized animal. “I got me a plan that’s gonna make you gladder than a mosquito at a blood bank and will keep me in sardines and sweet cream for life!” Huling’s accomplished watercolors reflect the colors of sun, sand, and desert wildflowers as Puss dupes an oil baron (Mr. Patoot) into thinking Dan’s a wealthy rancher, then orchestrates a love connection between Dan and the man’s daughter, Rosie May. In one full-bleed illustration, Dan, Mr. Patoot, and Rosie May relax on a picnic blanket after Mr. Patoot’s driver saves Dan from drowning; a vignette, opposite, shows the driver with a new suit and hat for Dan. By the time they get to town Mr. Patoot and Rosie May think Dan is loaded (Puss, who’s traveled ahead, convinces cowboys and oil workers to tell them Dan owns the livestock and rigs). When Puss tricks an ogre into turning himself into a mouse—so he can eat him—he claims the ogre’s castle for Dan. In the end, Rosie May and Dan are married. Will she still love him when she learns he’s a liar? Those in search of fairy-tale retellings will likely enjoy the Huling’s faithful adaptation. Even though it verges on verbose, this debut is sure to find a regional readership. And the illustrator is definitely a talent to watch. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83119-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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