Reviews for Puss in Cowboy Boots
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 August 2002
PreS.-Gr. 2. In this husband-and-wife team's lively retelling, Charles Perrault's Puss has left his native France for the scrappy oilfields of Texas, but he's no less shrewd and enterprising. The lighthearted text stays close to the original story's structure: a poor man's fortune is reversed when, through a series of crafty schemes, the cat he inherited marries him off to a princess. Here, though, the details are all contemporary Texan: the king is an oilman, the royal coach is a gleaming town car decorated with steer horns, and instead of a landowning marquis, the man becomes the wealthy "Rancher Dan" at the story's end. Best of all are Puss' stylish, red snakeskin cowboy boots, worn with a swagger over scrawny feline limbs. Children will enjoy the folksy, regional phrases, such as "just hold on a dad-burned minute," and also the striking, angular watercolors, which capture the dusty landscape and larger-than-life characters with stylish humor that will show well to a crowd. Suggest this for rowdy read-alouds full of "hootin' and hollerin.'" ((Reviewed August 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
The basic plot follows Perrault's; however, the Hulings' retelling is set in Texas and is filled with country expressions spoken with a Southwestern twang. The sleek illustrations give Puss and the other characters a long, lean look. Cheekily reminiscent of Thomas Hart Benton (and once with a wink at Manet), the sophisticated art is an effective counterpoint to the down-home storytelling. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2002 #4
One day ol' Clem, a Texas rodeo clown, "up and kicked the bucket," leaving three sons. The eldest inherited the pick-up truck, the second received his pa's clown suit, and Dan, the third son, "got what was left: old Puss." The basic plot follows Perrault's; however, the Hulings' retelling is set in Texas and is filled with country expressions spoken with a southwestern twang. Upon inheriting Puss, Dan is ready to turn him "into a pot o' three-alarm chili" and tan "his hide for a hatband," but Puss talks his way out of trouble, promising to make Dan "gladder than a mosquito in a blood bank." Dan accommodates Puss by buying him "the purdiest pair of red snakeskin cowboy boots ever worn by man or feline," and with a series of gifts, Puss ingratiates himself and his master with a wealthy oilman, eventually making Dan himself very wealthy and securing a promise from the oilman's daughter to be Dan's bride. The sleek illustrations give Puss and the other characters a long, lean look. Cheekily reminiscent of Thomas Hart Benton (and once with a wink at Manet), the sophisticated art is an effective counterpoint to the down-home storytelling. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2002 May #2
A husband-and-wife team reconfigures a classic with a hefty dose of Texas twang and the lankiest cowpokes in history. "It ain't much," says Dan of the cat he inherits from his rodeo-clown father. But Puss aims to please. "You go on and get me a pair of cowboy boots," says the anthropomorphized animal. "I got me a plan that's gonna make you gladder than a mosquito at a blood bank and will keep me in sardines and sweet cream for life!" Huling's accomplished watercolors reflect the colors of sun, sand, and desert wildflowers as Puss dupes an oil baron (Mr. Patoot) into thinking Dan's a wealthy rancher, then orchestrates a love connection between Dan and the man's daughter, Rosie May. In one full-bleed illustration, Dan, Mr. Patoot, and Rosie May relax on a picnic blanket after Mr. Patoot's driver saves Dan from drowning; a vignette, opposite, shows the driver with a new suit and hat for Dan. By the time they get to town Mr. Patoot and Rosie May think Dan is loaded (Puss, who's traveled ahead, convinces cowboys and oil workers to tell them Dan owns the livestock and rigs). When Puss tricks an ogre into turning himself into a mouse-so he can eat him-he claims the ogre's castle for Dan. In the end, Rosie May and Dan are married. Will she still love him when she learns he's a liar? Those in search of fairy-tale retellings will likely enjoy the Huling's faithful adaptation. Even though it verges on verbose, this debut is sure to find a regional readership. And the illustrator is definitely a talent to watch. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 April #5
First-timer Jan Huling retells the treasured Perrault fairy tale with a Texas twang. Deep in the wilds of Texas, a humble rodeo clown named Clem up and kicked the bucket, and it is his youngest son, Dan, who inherits Clem's scraggly old tomcat, Puss. Dan figures the only way he can profit from Puss is by cooking him into a pot of three-alarm chili and using his fur for a hatband. As clever Puss saves his hide (and earns wealth and respect for Dan) with the help of a shiny pair of red snakeskin cowboy boots, the text hews fairly faithfully to the outlines of Perrault's plot. The rootin'-tootin' cowboy vernacular gives this adaptation a fun, feisty flavor. (Why, looky here! says the oilman who substitutes for the customary king, A wild turkey! Why, I remember huntin' these with my pa when I was no bigger than a frog's hair). Phil Huling's (Moses in Egypt) watercolors depict an orange-yellow sun-baked landscape dotted with oil rigs, cacti and plenty of long, tall Texans. The stylized figures and serene compositions play straight man to the wily text. Ages 6-9. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2002 June
Gr 1-3-From the French countryside to the heart of Texas is a bit of a leap, but this powerful cat lands beautifully on his feet, clad in bright, red cowboy boots. True to the original tale and to the Texas setting, this Puss hunts wild turkey and possum, negotiates with the state's "most powerful oilman," overpowers an ogre with a "Remember the Alamo" tattoo, all to help his owner. Dan is the youngest and not-too-bright son of ol' Clem, a rodeo clown. He, his newfound lady, and all the folk who help Puss along the way celebrate with the "best dang bar-be-que they'd ever sunk their teeth into." The stylized watercolor illustrations, executed with selective realism, radiate warmth with a palette dominated by reds, oranges, and yellows. Libraries in the Southwest will surely appreciate this pleasing, though a tad long-winded adaptation. Others may weigh their need for new versions versus traditional retellings and assess their clever-adaptation saturation point before adding this entertaining read-aloud.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.