On the day of her birth, nothing about Angelica Longrider suggested that she would one day become the greatest woodswoman of Tennessee. In fact, the newborn was "scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help." It's not long, though, before Angelica is vanquishing varmints such as Thundering Tarnation, a huge bear with a taste for settlers' winter rations, and swallowing entire lakes in a gulp.
This tallest of tall tales is an original from an intriguing newcomer to children's books, Anne Isaacs. In the tradition of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, the story of a self-sufficient, tornado-wielding, unflappable heroine lopes along at a perfect pace. Paul O. Zelinsky's folksy oil illustrations are painted on cherry, maple, or birch veneers, with old-fashioned frames; the extravagant and fanciful paintings have garnered the distinguished illustrator yet another Caldecott Honor. (Zelinsky has already received one Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel and two Caldecott Honors for Hansel and Gretel and Rumpelstiltskin.) The dry and fantastically far-fetched humor of the author-illustrator team will make readers of all ages feel as though Angelica herself has tossed 'em in the air so high that they are still on the way up at nightfall. (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
Zelinsky's (Rumpelstiltskin) stunning American-primitive oil paintings, set against an unusual background of cherry, maple and birch veneers, frankly steal the show here. Their success, however, does not diminish the accomplishment of Isaacs, whose feisty tall tale marks an impressive picture-book debut. Her energy-charged narrative introduces Angelica Longrider. "On August 1, 1815," Isaacs begins, "when [she] took her first gulp of air on this earth, there was nothing about the baby to suggest that she would become the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. The newborn was scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help.... She was a full two years old before she built her first log cabin." The story continues in this casually overstated vein, explaining how Angelica got the appellation Swamp Angel at the age of 12 after rescuing a wagon train mired in the mud. But the larger-than-life girl's reputation grows to truly gargantuan proportions when she bests an even larger bear, throwing him up in the sky, where "he crashed into a pile of stars, making a lasting impression. You can still see him there, any clear night." This valiant heroine is certain to leave youngsters chuckling-and perhaps even keeping a close watch on the night sky. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the