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The Legend of Strap Buckner: A Texas Tale Hardcover – September, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Strap Buckner was a man of genius... and his genius was to knock folks down," begins Wooldridge's (When Esther Morris Headed West, reviewed Sept. 10) hyperbolic tale of an actual larger-than-life Texan. From new settlers to the local members of the Karankawan tribe (whose impressed chief names him "Red Son of Blue Thunder"), Strap daily "went forth and knocked men down with great grace" until no one wants to come near him. Even though the fellow resolves to live in peace, he's unable to restrain his exuberance. Pride in his great strength leads to folly when he challenges "the old Devil himself." The ensuing mighty scuffle leaves Strap forever humbled (but possibly triumphant). The build-up may be leisurely, but Wooldridge relates her colorful tall tale with gusto and swagger, peppering it with piquant descriptions ("swifter than a Texas wind") and folksy expressions ("Day had a time of it trying to dawn"). In the vein of his other Wild West titles, Glass (Bad Guys; Mountain Men) serves up comical watercolor, crayon and pencil illustrations that add to the homespun flavor. An afterword explains the story's roots in Texas history. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-Strap Buckner makes an interesting subject as a tall-tale hero; his claim to fame as one of the original "Old Three Hundred" Texas settlers notes his amazing size and strength at over 6 feet and 250 pounds and the uncomfortable habit of greeting newcomers by knocking them across a room. Wooldridge elaborates on Buckner's heavy-handed introductions (he knocks everyone down so they won't "feel left out") and includes his boastful fight with the devil. The author's descriptions of early settlers of the Texas wilderness are at times a mite flowery for her audience: "His erupted genius broke all bounds in its quest for glory and greatness in the eyes of all men." However, she gives the historical and cultural background of her story a faithful interpretation with mention of local heroes and native residents. The book contains references to the Karankawa tribe. Glass's watercolor-crayon cartoon art in illustrations of varying size captures the humor of Buckner's character and adds bright, colorful appeal and action to the tale. An author's note with bibliography clarifies the historical origin of characters.

Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1st edition (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823415368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823415366
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,717,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge's vivid imagination and spirited storytelling are fueled by her love of travel, adventure, and the unconventional way she embraces all life has to offer.

She's lived in seven states, Washington, D.C., Athens, Greece and Seoul, South Korea; was a Latin major, a flight attendant for a major airline, raised four children who are five years apart in age, and worked at a job she'd dreamed of having as a little girl - a librarian in an elementary school.

From the time she learned to read, Connie loved to escape into her favorite stories - mysteries and fantasies. While other girls were devouring Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventures on the American prairie, she lived in the fantasy worlds created by 19th Century Scottish writer George MacDonald or went sleuthing with Nancy Drew.

Her love of travel began early in life, as her father's work moved the family from Black Mountain, North Carolina, where Connie was born, to several homes in Northern Ohio and finally to Sherborn, Massachusetts, where she graduated from high school. Connie attended Mount. Holyoke College, where she majored in Latin and earned a teaching certificate. After a year with American Airlines and two years teaching first grade at an English-speaking school in Korea, she attended the University of Chicago graduate school, where she received a double Masters degree in library science and education in 1977.

During this time she was recommended by Zena Sutherland, children's literature professor and editor of The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, to serve first on the American Library Association's Newbery-Caldecott Committee, which each year selects the recipients of children's literature's most prestigious awards, and then on the Notable Books Committee, which compiles a list of the best children's books published each year.

Married in 1977, she and her growing family made several moves while her husband was finishing his medical studies. She took her first step toward her dream of writing for children by taking a correspondence course through The Institute of Children's Literature. Her first acceptance, by Highlights for Children, was a Korean folktale adaptation. Soon she was a regular contributor to both Highlights for Children and Cricket Magazine.

Connie is the author of five picture books and a young adult biography...

Just Fine They Way They Are (Calkins Creek, March 1, 2011)
The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton (Clarion Books, 2010)
Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (Holiday House, 2005)
When Esther Morris Headed West (Holiday House, 2001)
The Legend of Strap Buckner (Holiday House, 2001)
Wicked Jack (Holiday House, 1995)
Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge and her husband, Carl, live in Richmond, Indiana where she serves on the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Board, the Every Child Can Read Board, and volunteers for Communities in Schools. They have four grown children.

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