cover image Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett

Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett

Steven Kellogg. HarperCollins, $17.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14042-7

Not as polished as the best of his tall tales, Kellogg's (Pecos Bill; Paul Bunyan) latest introduces a heroine generously endowed with strength, speed and spunk. At birth, Sally Ann greets her parents and nine brothers with a loud ""Howdy!"" and announces: ""I can out-talk, out-grin, out-scream, out-swim, and out-run any baby in Kentucky!"" And she certainly does, much to the astonishment of all. On her eighth birthday, the ever-smiling child leaves home to find new challenges on the frontier; eventually, she marries Davy Crockett. The story's pace slackens considerably as Sally Ann settles into unaccustomed tranquility on a farm, until she finally renews her claim to fame by besting a gang of alligators and creating The Great Alligator Tornado, which disperses the disruptive creatures from Minnesota to New Orleans. Though flawed by some jarring transitions and an overly abrupt ending, this is a merry tale, fittingly accompanied by Kellogg's buoyant colored ink, watercolor and acrylic art. Here he comically captures the boundless energy of his larger-than-life heroine. All ages. (Sept.)