Reviews for Bootmaker and the Elves


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 September 1997
Ages 5^-9. This fractured fairy tale, from the author of the best-selling The Three Little Javelinas (1993), sticks closely to the plot of the original but shifts the story to an Old West setting. It stars a poor cowboy bootmaker whose boots are "just plain ugly." Before he goes to bed, the bootmaker leaves out just enough leather for one last pair of boots. In the morning, he finds a beautiful pair of cowboy boots and one rich customer, a rancher who pulls out a wad of money "big enough to choke a cow." As a result of this transaction, the bootmaker has enough leather for two pairs of boots, then four, and so on through the multiplication tables. With elongated forms and grainy backgrounds, Curry's wacky, modern pictures bear a strong resemblance to the artwork of Lane Smith. A fun story for reading aloud, and an unobtrusive math lesson to, er, boot. ((Reviewed September 15, 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1998
Here's a version of ""The Shoemaker and the Elves"" in which the bootmaker is a cowboy and the midnight elves turn scraps of crocodile, ostrich, buffalo, and buckskin into high-stylin', two-steppin' cowboy boots. Soon the bootmaker and his ""skinny as a snake on stilts"" wife are ""fat and sassy ever after."" Brassy illustrations sashay across the page in blazing, southwestern colors with zany, toe-tickling details. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1997 #6
Edited by Christine Normandin. A noted storyteller, artist, and author retells five tales that "are a part of the land and a mirror to the people who are the tribes of the Northwest Coast of North America." The oversized format complements stylized illustrations that demand attention because of their authoritative lines, dramatic compositions, and eye-catching placement of color. Yet, magnificent as it is, the art never overwhelms the text of the five stories, which entice, enlighten, and entertain. All reflect the culture and environment from which they originated, as in "The Old Owl Witch" with its evocation of forests inhabited by mysterious beings; "The Boy and the Loon" with its references to the power of the shaman; and "Poogweese," which introduces an unusual supernatural being, a Merman, whose role as messenger for the sea lord Goomquay seems more clearly defined than that of similar beings in other traditions. Two are pourquoi tales: "Beaver Face," which matter-of-factly introduces a hero with a cleft lip who triumphs over evil, and "Raven & Sea Gull," which offers comic relief in recounting the clever method by which the trickster Raven recovers daylight from the greedy Sea Gull. Each tale is preceded by a short introduction, and a compact disc, cleverly integrated into the design of the front endpapers, presents Chief Lelooska himself reading the stories aloud. A unique presentation, pairing traditional bookmaking with modern technology. m.m.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1997 November
K-Gr 2 "The Shoemaker and the Elves," retold in the colorful language of the Old West. A poor bootmaker is down on his luck and down to his last scraps of leather. After a night of worrying, he is "hornswoggled" to find a finished pair of fancy boots on his workbench. A rich rancher comes along and pays for them with a wad of money "big enough to choke a cow," allowing the bootmaker to buy more leather. Each day, more magical boots appear, and more "rootin' tootin'" cowboys and rodeo queens show up to get shod. Finally, the man and his wife stay up late enough to spy on their midnight helpers. They then hatch the expected plan to reward the elves with tiny blue jeans, Western shirts, cowboy hats, and, of course, itty-bitty boots. The delighted elves scoot away into the sunrise, but by now the bootmaker has plenty of ideas for deluxe footwear and can manage without the little people. Lowell's language is filled with whoopee-ki-yi-yays and the like: "skinny as a snake on stilts"; happy as a "dog with two tails." The similes and metaphors never let up, and Curry's pictures extend the jolly mood. Though dark in hue, they have a much lighter tone than his work for Jim Latimer's Snail and Buffalo (Orchard, 1995). Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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