BONAPARTE

Language purists may wince, but everyone else will applaud this Gallic tale of boy and dog separated, then reunited. “NO DOGS ALLOWED” reads the sign outside La School d’Excellence, and so young Jean Claude Jean is forced to leave his faithful Bonaparte back at the chateau. Bonaparte has other ideas, trying again and again to outwit the school’s rather nearsighted overseers. But when a last disguise finally works, Jean Claude is gone. Undismayed, Bonaparte offers his tracking services to the panicked trustees. Never one to leave a page unfilled, Halperin expands the short text considerably, fitting sequential scenes, views of Bonaparte searching city streets, thumbnail portraits and, for good measure, the occasional row of dogs or pastries, all within a series of patterned borders. Busy? Yes. Jumbled? Not at all. Because it’s drawn with vanishingly fine, but clear lines and exquisitely controlled color, every tiny detail in the harmonious illustrations is distinct, waiting to be picked out by fascinated viewers. In the end, Bonaparte tracks down his wayward boy, and the grateful trustees add a “W” to the “NO” on their sign—prompting a wave of new canine admissions. A chien sans peur is Bonaparte, coupling engagingly doggy devotion with rare ingenuity. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7894-2617-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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