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Ten-Gallon Bart Beats the Heat Hardcover – March 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Bart, the former canine sheriff of Dog City, is off on another adventure. In town, it was "scorching hot,/blistering hot,/tongue hanging-out hot…" so Bart decides to hitch a stagecoach and head north to Alaska. Things are not what he imagined them to be, with bears, moose that make him pull a dogsled, and a snowstorm that buries him up to his ten-gallon hat. His friends in hot Dog City hear of his icy predicament and come to his rescue, taking him home. Bart's cowboy drawl is fun to read aloud, but one might have to explain some of the references to younger children. The detailed, textured-paper illustrations give the art a three-dimensional look and make Bart extra lively.—Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
To escape the oppressive Dog City heat, Ten-Gallon Bart sets off for Alaska, where he encroaches on the fishing pond of three bears, experiences sledding from a sled dog's point of view, and is buried by a freak blizzard while digging for gold. His Dog City friends recognize his hat in a newspaper photo and pool their resources to rescue their friend. Back home in the heat, surrounded by friends, Bart now thinks he's in paradise. Told in a humorous tall-tale style, the longish story is best suited for school-age children who will enjoy the playful language and silly situations. Collage illustrations feature layers of textured paper that effectively replicate the look and shape of animal fur and feathers. The large pictures are well suited for group sharing and group giggles. Grades K-2. --Linda Perkins
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We also liked the paper cut images instead of drawings. They sparked some conversation and gave some artistic ideas to my 10-yr old daughter, who's more of the creative type.
Although the story puts a few unrealistic timelines in place, the overarching themes are quite healthy. One is the that looking for greener pastures isn't always going to turn out like you think, and that "home" is often quite fine if we would just consider it. Another nice theme is that true friends look out for each other and making sacrifices for friendship is a good thing.
Bart is a dog who gets too hot in Dog City. It was so hot the chickens were laying fried eggs, but he discovers the coolest place on Earth, Alaska. Cool is not all he discovered in Alaska, he found bears, dog sleds, lots of snow and more snow. Meanwhile back in Dog City Bart's friends were worried. Bart discovers that home may be the best place after all.
Picture books need to have interesting language that children will want to read and re-read. Ten-Gallon Bart Beats the Heat has great language like this, "A grin spread over his face like syrup on pancakes." Picture books need to have illustrations that match the texts. Donohue's illustrations are cut illustrated paper. They appear simplistic at first glance, but a study shows the detail in each character and scene. My favorite illustration is Miss Pixie, one of the chickens, running around "like a chicken with her head cut off" Lastly, a picture book needs to be fun to read and re-read. This book has characters with great names, Wyatt Burp and Wild Bill Hiccup. The fun characters, language and bright pictures all add up to a fun book.
I don't like it as well as I like the team of sisters, Susan and Janet, but Susan's books are always fun.
That aside, it's a fun book. The story itself flows nicely, and encourages the use of some fun regional accents and sound effects. (The bears go "grr", the train Bart travels on goes CHUGGA-CHUGGA, etc.) At its heart, the story is simple: Bart lives in an unpleasantly hot climate and decides to cool off by heading for the frozen north, but he doesn't anticipate what he'll find there. I like that the book has some subliminal messages about unintended consequences and being grateful for the things you have, but it's very lighthearted and not at all preachy. There are also some nice messages in it about friendship. All of these themes are beautifully woven into the fun story.
The mixed media art is a lot of fun too. Bart looks like he's made out of textured paper set against the colorful backdrops of the book. When he travels north, there's a fun antique-style map that depicts his journey. The cow has curls that look like they're made of clay, and the chickens are made from what looks like an embossed white fabric. All of these elements add up to give the book a very tactile feel, even though the paper of the book itself is flat. It's as enjoyable to look at the textures of the pictures as it is to read the story.
This is a very well-made children's book, where both the text and the art have been crafted with the same amount of care and attention to detail. It's a fun book for both parents and children.
"Ten Gallon Bart Beats the Heat" is a very cute story that will kids will find very engaging. It also teaches them about Alaska (the weather.... and how far away it is from the American West) and that the grass is not always greener on the other side. For Bart... the heat of Dog City was inconvenient but he learned that things could certainly be worse!
We also enjoyed by the writing an illustration of "Ten-Gallon Bart Beats the Heat". Both are non-typical - the narration is a bit colloquial and folksy. The illustration is, again, non-traditional. The characters are drawn as paper cut-outs with the backgrounds have a chalk-esque look.... pretty cool stuff.
Final Verdict - "Ten Gallon Bart Beats the Heat" is sure to bring a smile to any child ages 2-9. Due to the writing style, I wouldn't consider it a "reader" book for kids learning to read however it still would make a fine gift for any child.
Most recent customer reviews
Wait to read more Bart books in this series. I recommend