cover image Fat Chance, Claude!

Fat Chance, Claude!

Joan Lowery Nixon. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81459-6

That wacky Texas couple, Shirley and Claude, establishes that they are kindred spirits in this rollicking prequel to If You Say So, Claude and Beats Me, Claude. In the frontier town of Hideyhole, feisty Shirley resists her parents' attempts to marry her offespecially since the only bachelor left is dull Elmer Twaddle. She'd rather go to Colorado to look for gold. On the trail she meets Claude, whose mama's marriage to a widower gives him a sudden hankering for prospecting, too (if he'd stuck around, he'd have to support his new stepfather's six young sons). Shirley and Claude help each other through thick and thinuntil they both spot gold on the same site. In crisp, sure language laced with delightfully outrageous exaggeration, Nixon has spun a rib-tickling yarn with an underlying message about the value of friendship. Pearson's spirited illustrations double the hilarity and silly good fun: the picture of Claude proposing is worth a pan of gold. Ages 3-8. (October)