Cyrano the Bear

Nicole Rubel, Author
Nicole Rubel, Author Dial Books $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1444-1
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-8037-1445-8
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Rubel (The Ghost Family Meets Its Match; the Rotten Ralph books) transplants the classic tale of the big-nosed romantic to a Wild West town for a galloping read. Cyrano the bear is a horseback-riding sheriff with two goals: to apprehend the dastardly Gila Monster Gang and to win the heart of lovely librarian/sheep Roxane. But Cyrano has generously written admiring letters to Roxane on behalf of Deputy Wolfie, and Roxane is smitten with the unpoetic but rakish wolf. Luckily, Roxane appreciates verse--her home is littered with volumes of Keats and Longfellow--and she eventually guesses Cyrano's role. Rubel's watercolor spreads overflow with such Victorian touches as paisley pillows, flowered wallpaper, and densely patterned clothing and saddle-blankets. Extra vocabulary words appear as labels on general-store items and as writing on a blackboard (in a flashback to the characters' childhood). Including a pleasing profusion of detail in her art, she stuffs the narrative with plenty of plot elements--among them, Cyrano's low self-esteem; the Gila gang; a buffalo/fortune-teller who advises our hero--there's more than a romance to beguile the target audience. Ages 4-8. (May)
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