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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch Library Binding – February 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1–4—Isaacs excels at writing tall tales, and readers will not be disappointed by her newest yarn. In 1870, the widow Tulip Jones inherits millions of dollars and a ranch, so she moves from England to By-Golly Gully. She quickly learns that everything is bigger in Texas, including her garden vegetables and her beloved pet tortoises. But her blissful peace is disrupted when word gets around about her rich and unmarried status. Hilarity ensues as the widow comes up with a variety of ways to get rid of the 1000 suitors who line up at her door. Exaggeration is the name of the game from text to illustrations. The story is told in a linear, yet compelling way, and the delightful tongue-twisting narration uses a variety of fun and folksy phrases. Isaacs takes her time, humorously setting the scene through the first few pages, which prepares readers to expect larger-than-life problems and solutions. The characters are exaggerated as well, from the odious suitors to the spunky and independent widow Jones, who takes a proactive approach to solving her problems. Hawkes's painterly illustrations, rendered with acrylic and pencil, feature vast blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and sun-drenched landscapes that firmly establish the setting. These exaggerated visuals match the humorous tone set by the text. At its best when read aloud, this story will also appeal to elementary school kids who will be inspired to create their own tales with over-the-top characters.—Amy Seto Musser, Denver Public Library --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

English widow Tulip Jones is off to America, having inherited $35 million and an entire ranch in Texas, with a lot of tea, her three ranch hands (née house servants), and 12 pet tortoises in tow. With pluck and verve, they establish themselves in the Texas heat but soon find their efforts interrupted by more than 1000 marriageable fortune hunters. Widow Jones has to hire her own baker, one Charlie Doughpuncher, just to feed them all. At her wits end, she hatches a few impossible contests, promising to marry the winner. Meanwhile, the ranch hands solicit 1000 brides from across the country. And voila, dastards are caught, vows exchanged, and everyone, even the ranch hands, departs. Except Charlie, of course, who has a proposal of his own. Isaacs’ tall-tale plotting and over-the-top language are matched by Hawkes’ bright, comic paintings, brimming with spirit and detail. An opening endpaper signpost warns against exaggeration in Texas, promising just the outsize adventure that Isaacs and Hawkes deliver. Grades K-3. --Thom Barthelmess --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Library Binding: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375967451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375967450
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,753,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
‘Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch’ written by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes is an interesting picture book for slightly older children, with the nice Illustrations showing vivid pictures of life in Texas.

The story main character is widow Tulip Jones of Bore from England who inherited a ranch in Texas. She will move in with lot of (I mean really lot of) tea, twelve pet tortoises which are named after the months of the year and her three servants Linsey, Woolsey, and Calico.
Widow Tulip will soon learn that in Texas everything is bigger, whether we're talking about animals or plants and since Tulip coming she will be haunted by many men who would like to marry her for the wealth she owns. Tulip will have to be wise to keep all the suitors away, but over time someone special will appear who will win her heart…

‘Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch’ is picture book with a bit more complex story, therefore is primarily intended for children over 5 years of age who will fully enjoy humorous adventures of widow Tulip, her servants and animals. Kevin Hawkes illustrations have been made in the style of the older folktales, full of color and details so in their artwork viewing reader can truly enjoy.

Therefore I can fully recommend Anne Isaacs picture book because besides its humor and great illustrations, it contains great story that might well be treated in a longer, more demanding literary form.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Russell Whitehead on March 9, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out from my local library after seeing it on Amazon's Editor's Picks. A tall tale complete with full-color illustrations on every page, the story is fun with all sorts of dastardly characters. I really enjoyed the exaggeration. But, giant tortoises running around like jackrabbits? That's just riprocious!
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Format: Hardcover
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH is straight out of Texas, where, under the full penalty of the law, exaggeration is forbidden to every person (unless that person is an elected official or anyone who has ever ridden a horse), so the reader can take sometimes unbelievable tale as fact. It's 1870 When Tulip Jones, a widow from Greater Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas. She sets off to set up residence, armed with plenty of tea, twelve pet tortoises (named January, February, March, and so on), and her three capable servants, Linsey, Woolsey, and Calico. Tulip quickly learns everything is bigger in Texas, including vegetables, tortoises, and the lines of bachelors who line up to marry eligible ladies. As a swarm of unmarried men descend upon By-Golly Ranch, Tulip and her ladies struggle to run the ranch and entertain the endless stream of suitors. It takes Tulip no small about of wit and cleverness to rid herself of the gold-digging suitors and, along the way, she just might find true love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teresa McCaw on April 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Can't wait to read this to my library classes! I fell in love with it and I can't wait to see which age group likes it the most.
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Format: Kindle Edition
K picked this book up from his school library.

Even though I enjoyed the book I do not think K did. I didn't read the blurb when he brought the book home I just looked at the cover and was like oh wow giant tortoises how fun will this book be.
You have Widow Tulip who has a farm and the farm grows BIG things which I thought was awesome. But then in comes the talk about marriage, suitors are coming up to marry this Widow and she sets them on tasks which are pretty cool. K only thought the giant tortoises, the food and how the millions of ducks were in the river was awesome. Other than that I think the story kind of flew over his head as to what it was about. Overall a fun read for those that like Tall Tales!
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