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Zilla Sasparilla and the Mud Baby Hardcover – May 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It will be a hardhearted parent who doesn't find a lump in her throat after reading this lyrical tale of a mother's love. Children, meanwhile (and little girls in particular), are certain to get caught up in the story's details of all the fussing and fretting that goes along with being a mommy. Pulling her lost shoe out of a mucky riverbank, a young woman named Zilla discovers that holding on to the other end is "a slithery, mud-golden baby." She becomes its devoted mother, bathing him in milk so he doesn't dry out in heat, and christening him Cinnamon "because he is the color of a beautiful piece of cinnamon toast." As Cinnamon grows up, Zilla fears the river will want her "mud baby" back, but he proves to her that the bond between them is unbreakable. Much of what makes the story magical?in both a literal and a literary sense?is its restraint: Gorog (No Swimming in Dark Pond) never explains where the mud baby comes from, and the love between Zilla and Cinnamon emanates from the way Zilla goes about the work of nurturing him: "She fed him and changed him, bathed him and dried him. She told him rhymes on his fingers and his toes. She hugged him and kissed him, so glad that he was real." The gentle lines and sweet humor of Harvey's (Stormy Weather) drawings underscore the subtle charms of the text, deepening the considerable poetry of the story. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2?Zilla Sasparilla stumbles into the muck of the Little Muddy River and loses her shoe. When she tries to retrieve it, she pulls out an infant. While very pleased to have the mud baby, she frets right away that the heat from her stove will dry it out and crack it. She seeks the sage advice of Granny Vi, who tells her if she first washes the baby in milk, all will be well. When Cinnamon reaches school age, Zilla begins to worry that he will be stolen back by the river, and decides to move. As they reach its bank, the mule refuses to budge, so Zilla tries to prod it along and slips into the Little Muddy. Cinnamon jumps in after her, and when Zilla sees the river isn't a threat to him, she contentedly heads back home. Both children and adults will be able to relate, from different points of view, to the worry and angst Zilla experiences as a mother. Harvey's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, many of them full page, are expressive and blend nicely with the fairly lengthy text. A heartwarming additional purchase, especially where original fairy tales are popular.?Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564022951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564022950
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,978,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has become a book that tightens the bond between my son and I. I read this lovely, origional and sweet book to my son when he was just 2 or 3, we both fell in love with it. I have recently purchased this book for my son's 16th birthday, we still love it. It is a real joy.
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