cover image The Wonderful Hay Tumble

The Wonderful Hay Tumble

Kathleen McKinley Harris. Morrow Junior Books, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07151-6

This wacky homegrown folktale relates the trials of a poor Vermont couple who buy land that is hilly, a ""pile-of-rocks'' farm, where it's all they can do just to stay alive with their baby. One day, the farmer gets an idea. He decides that instead of raking together his tumbles of hay, he'll just push them down the hill. He gives one tumble a shove and down it goes, growing bigger and bigger, gaining momentum as it gathers more hay. The tumble hurtles all over the farm, clearing pastures of rocks, building new walls, chopping logs and generally turning the place into a working farm. ``And that was the start of good fortune for the poor young man and his wife.'' Gackenbach's lively illustrations nicely reflect Harris's sprightly tale; both storyteller and artist give the tall tale elements their due, exaggerating the details with aplomb. Ages 4-7. (April)