From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-Bubba and Beau return for more hilarious adventures. In this installment, the relatives are coming to see the baby, the dog, Mama Pearl, and Big Bubba at their home in the country. Mama hands out orders and soon toys are swept under beds, the pup's bones are put away, and scrumptious treats are prepared. Bubba and Beau are gussied up in fancy new duds to meet Grandaddy Bubba, Grandma Ruby, Aunt Sapphire, and Cousin Arlene and her little dog, Bitsy. After the babies are hugged and passed around, they crawl to Bubba's favorite place-the mud hole-where they get good and filthy. There is only one thing to do-fill up the bed of the pickup truck, don swimsuits, and have a relaxing family soak. With interjections such as "Sister, that mud hole was better than pickled eggs," Appelt's folksy narrative dances through the five short chapters, and careful pacing and dialogue add to the fun. Howard's illustrations extend the jokes; readers will laugh out loud at Mama Pearl as she hides clutter in closets and at the hilarious depiction of Cousin Arlene and her "froufrou city" Pekingese. Comparisons to Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came (S & S, 1985) are obvious, but this book more than holds its own.
Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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PreS-Gr. 2. Mama Pearl and Big Bubba are busy cleaning and cooking before the arrival of relatives, so baby Bubba and his dog, Beau, squish and squash in the nearest mud hole until they are discovered. Consternation! Bath! Scratchy sailor suit! The relatives arrive, including gussied-up baby Arlene. After the babies have been admired and photographed, they quietly crawl away--to enjoy the mud hole. The story doesn't end there; it just gets better until the relatives' truck pulls away to the sound of "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" With the down-home southern vernacular, the cowboy boots and hats, and the Lone Star decorations on Big Bubba's truck, the setting is surely Texas, but the audience for this amusing picture book extends far beyond state lines. Divided into five short chapters, the flavorful text begs to be read aloud. With equal parts warmth and creativity, Howard brings the story to life with his witty pencil drawings, brightened with colorful washes. Varying composition and page design, he creates a series of scenes portraying the characters in a comical yet affectionate light. The third book in the Bubba and Beau saga. Carolyn Phelan
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