Cynthia C. DeFelice, Author, Cat Bowman Smith, Illustrator , illus. by Cat Bowman Smith. FSG $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-35614-9

DeFelice (The Real, True Dulcie Campbell) takes readers to the backcountry once again with the confident voice of a true teller of tall tales. When the beans she's cooking are stolen three nights in a row, Old Granny gets "madder than a pussycat thrown into a pond," and embarks on a long trip to town so she can tell the sheriff. On the way, she meets an odd collection of things: a talking water snake, pecan, cow-patty (certain to elicit delighted expressions of disgust) and more. In fairy-tale fashion, all ask Old Granny where she's going and all advise, "Old Granny, on your way home, pick me up and put me in your sack. You'll be glad you did." In each instance—but especially in the case of the cow patty—Granny must overcome her reluctance before she can take her new friends home. Her resolve is rewarded when the collection choreographs a kid-pleasingly slapstick routing of the robber. Smith (No More Nasty) chooses the red earth and dusky blue shadows of southwestern deserts for her down-home, spirited gouache spreads and vignettes, even though the narrative's details don't necessarily locate the story there. Her generic rural dialect ("So she picked up that cactus real careful-like") and classic plot structure suggest a broader context: the realm of the sturdy country fable. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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