It seems like it has been a long while since I’ve done a just-for-fun picture books post, and when I looked into our library basket to determine just which jewels I’d showcase today, I discovered A Theme. 🙂
I picked up The Adventures of Granny Clearwater and Little Critter because I recognized Kimberly Willis Holt as the author of My Louisiana Sky and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, two novels I enjoyed in my pre-blogging days. I was interested to read a picture book by her; the range of some authors amazes me, and I was eager to learn if Kimberly Willis Holt could pull off the difficult task of reducing a story to a mere two dozen or so pages. It turns out, she can, and Louise’s insistence that we read this story over and over again is proof that not only can she do it, she can do it well. In this story, Granny Clearwater and Little Critter (the youngest of the Clearwater kids) are jolted out of the wagon when the wagon hits a hole on its way west. Granny and Little Critter do the only thing they can do–take matters into their own hands and set out walking. They meet lots of obstacles and encounter all kinds of predicaments along the way, but nothing stops Granny Clearwater. Not only does Granny do a rain dance that produces a downpour the likes of which the desert has never seen, she rigs up a fishing apparatus from a tree limb, thread from her skirt hem, and her hairpins, and then proceeds to catch a fish that is big enough to drag her into the water and pull her all the way around the lake. Nothing can top Granny’s act of heroism in capturing Rose Rogers, a stage coach driver and bad poet, though. She does this with a lasso she fashions from hers and Little Critters stockings! In case you can’t tell, this story is one part travel story, one part tall tale. It’s the perfect blend of silliness and adventure. Laura Hulisk-Beith‘s illustrations are the perfect accompaniment–very detailed and entertaining. Reading this book aloud almost necessitates affecting a western accent, pard’ner. 🙂
While you’ve got your accent warmed up, you might as well enjoy another wild west tale, right? This one is a hoot! Don’t Touch My Hat by James Rumford is the story of Sheriff John, the capable lawman of the town of Sunshine. Samson-like, Sheriff John’s source of ability is his ten gallon hat, or at least he thinks it is. Because of this, Sheriff John is extremely particular about his hat; a common refrain throughout the story is “DON’T TOUCH MY HAT!” All is well until the good sheriff is called away to a ruckus in the middle of the night, and he mistakenly puts on . . . well, I won’t ruin it for you. The ending is hilarious, and I predict that readers from five to ninety-five will like this one. Rumford‘s illustrations are bright, colorful, and “inspired by early-twentieth-century movie posters, pulp fiction covers, and the ingenious art of Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942).” I’ve never heard of Cappiello, but his style of artwork works for this fun story. Highly Recommended!
I don’t know about you, but I could use some extra fun reading here at the end of the school year. These books certainly are that! Has your family enjoyed any fun titles lately? Tell me about them! Link up your RAT post in the comments!