cover image The Year of No More Corn

The Year of No More Corn

Helen Ketteman. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05950-0

With Beanie too young and Old Grampa too old to help plant corn on the family farm, there's nothing for the pair to do but share a story. As he sits and whittles, Old Grampa tells Beanie about ``the year of no more corn,'' back in 1928, when various forces of nature conspired to oblige the Indiana farmers to plant and replant their cornfields, each time to no avail. But Old Grampa claims to have saved the day by planting corn kernels whittled from wood, from which sprang up a forest of corncob-bearing trees. Ketteman ( Not Yet, Yvette ) spins her tall tale in a pleasingly folksy deadpan style, her vivid descriptions bringing the old man's outrageous account to life until the reader, like young Beanie, would like nothing better than to believe every word: ``The ground got hotter and hotter, until suddenly those kernels started popping. They popped until the cornfields looked like they were covered with winter snow. Every man, woman and child in Indiana had to eat nothing but popcorn for weeks.'' Parker's ( Pop Corn and Ma Goodness ) bright, animated watercolors are rimmed with wriggling ink lines in a manner somewhat reminiscent of William Steig. With a manic energy appropriate to the text, his paintings winningly portray windblown houses sailing through the air and hordes of marauding inky-black crows. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)