Tuesday, August 01, 2006


THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY by Janet Squires, illustrated by Holly Berry (HarperCollins)
Once upon a time in the Wild Wild West, a rancher's wife grew weary of fixing biscuits and got a mind to making not just any old cookie, but a gingerbread cowboy, who was just so excited to be made that he jumped out of the oven and down the road, just like his famous cousin the gingerbread boy. Being from the Lone Star state, he yells "giddyup, giddyup, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man." He gets away from a roadrunner, a herd of long-horned cattle, a lizard, manuevers around seas of saguros...but can he escape the clever coyote, shown on the very last page in the kichen, learning the recipe from the rancher and his wife? I loved the illustrator's vibrant rendering of Sabina Rascol's THE IMPUDENT ROOSTER( Dutton), and she hasn't lost her touch here; beautiful hues of browns, golds and blues are the icing on the cake (or the cookie, as the case may be). This folktale parody is as delicious as any dessert, and just as tasty on the read-aloud tongue. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
More southwestern storytime parodies!
THE COWBOY AND THE BLACK-EYED PEA by Tony Johnston (Putnam) A prince among men in a cowboy hat gets saddle-sore in this "Princess and the Pea" takeoff. (6 and up)

THE THREE JAVELINAS by Susan Lowell, illustrated by Jim Harris (Rising Moon) Southwestern-style three little pigs, featuring Spanish vocabulary and a folkloric trickster coyote in lieu of a big bad wolf. (5 and up)

MANANA IGUANA by Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by Ethan Long (Holiday House)
In this wonderful revisit of "The Little Red Hen," Iguana has an uphill battle planning a fiesta, because Conejo (rabbit), Tortuga (turtle) and Culebra (snake) can't seem to find it within themselves to left a paw, claw or scale. Our hard-working heroine manages to pull it off, and the shame-faced slackers redeem themselves within reason by pitching in to take care of the clean-up. Snarky fun with a Spanish flavor will give many opportunities for kids to join in the bilingual chorus during storytime. Perfect for incorporating into themes of party-planning, spring and helpfulness . Glossary included. BYOP (Bring Your Own Pinata). (5 and up)

JOE CINDERS by Marianne Mitchell, illustrated by Bryan Langdo (Holt) The tables are turned on the Cinderella story when a cowboy dreams of two-stepping the fall fiesta at Miss Rosalinda's Rancho Milagro. The illustration of Joe swaying with a pitchfork and dreaming of the dance is one of pure romance. Thanks to a mysterious serape-wrapped senor, Joe scores some red boots and a matching pick-up
truck, and before long Rosalinda is asking him to marry her on bended knee.The sandy palette is perfection, the pictures matching the comical text that hollers to be read aloud. The author's surprising play on roles is believable and refreshing, and the expressive rounded figures make the characters all the more endearing. There are many Cinderella retellings available, but this one stands on it's own as oh so sabroso! Both boys and girls will love it. (6 and up)

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