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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventureby Matthew Luckhurst
Synopses & Reviews
This fast-paced, high-energy picture book tells the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who at age nineteen disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. She took the name Frank Thompson and joined a Michigan army regiment to battle the Confederacy. Sarah excelled as a soldier and nurse on the battlefield. Because of her heroism, she was asked to become a spy. Her story comes to life through the signature illustrations and design of John Hendrix and the exciting storytelling of Marissa Moss.
Praise for Nurse,and#160;Soldier, Spy
and#8220;The incredible story of how Sarah Edmonds becomes Frank Thompson is full of adventure, bravado and pathos. Spirited pen-and-ink drawings, full of period detail and war action always focus on the intriguing Frankand#8230;and#8221; and#8211;San Francisco Chronicle
and#8220;Readers won't stop until the last page of Marissa Moss' exciting Civil War story about Sarah Edmonds' life as a man in the Union Army. Vivid illustrations by artist John Hendrix match Moss' exciting account of Sarah's life in the Army.and#8221; and#8211;Sacramento Beeand#160;
and#8220;Hendrix's artwork is, as usual, a showstopper, and his bold caricatures convey Edmonds's strength and determination. Moss delivers a riveting narrative, making it clear that Edmonds was fighting for more than one kind of freedom.and#8221; and#8211;Publishers Weekly, starred review
and#8220;The focused view makes the book accessible for children. The pen-and-ink with acrylic wash illustrations are full of vibrant detail. Hendrix presents a meticulous view of military life, including army camp layouts and fortifications. Hand-drawn typography highlights important or humorous points in the text and adds even more visual interest.and#8221; and#8211;School Library Journal
and#8220;Hendrixand#8217;s art emphasizes the horror and drama of war. Using hand-lettered text reminiscent of broadsides of the time, he visually shouts danger to the reader when tension is the highest.and#8221; and#8211;Horn Book
and#8220;In ink-and-wash illustrations, Hendrix again displays his knack for visual narrative. The aerial view of Edmonds approaching the Confederate camp is particularly effective. This large-format picture book illustrates Edmondsand#8217; courage and determination while conveying a good deal of information in a highly readable way.and#8221; and#8211;Booklist
and#8220;Admirable and enlightening. Moss is a lively prose writer, and Hendrixand#8217;s illustrations inject humor into what is actually a serious subject.and#8221; and#8211;The New York Times
and#8220;Boldly illustrated. The text is full of interesting details. This book strikes a fine balance which conveys the horrors of the Civil War without portraying too much blood and violence for elementary readers. A very useful and researchable picture book.and#8221; and#8211;Library Media Connection, starred review
"Newcomer Luckhurst's manic gouache artwork and hand-lettered typography grab attention in this pancake-themed twist on the Paul Bunyan legend. Luckhurst leaves it to parents to explain what a lumberjack is and instead focuses on Paul and Babe's steady diet of pancakes, despite Paul's mother's attempts to feed them healthier food ('I just cannot keep feeding you and Babe all these pancakes,' she complains, wielding a spatula and whisk, surrounded by stacks of flapjacks. 'I have fields to tend'). Paul and Babe leave home to seek their (pancake) fortune; in one episode, Babe chases a tasty pancake and Paul tries to hold him back: 'When Babe finally caught the pancake, he and Paul had dug up a huge swath of dirt that is now called the Grand Canyon.' After milking the pancake jokes for as long as he can, Luckhurst capitulates to the vegetable lobby and sends Paul and Babe home to eat broccoli. The sheer voltage of Luckhurst's artwork — Robert Neubecker by way of Robert Crumb — makes this a notable debut, one whose boisterous display type lends itself to noisy readalouds. Ages 4 — 8." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this humorous twist on a classic tale, Paul Bunyan and his best friend, Babe the Blue Ox, leave life on the farm to work for a logger who pays them with their favorite thing: pancakes! Paul and Babe tromp across the country with the logger, filling valleys with pancake batter (forming the Rocky Mountains) and chasing down pancakes blown away by the wind (creating the Grand Canyon). But when Babe starts to feel sick from eating too many pancakes, the two realize that maybe the farm, with its variety of foods, is really the best place for them after all.
The engaging typography and illustrations, combined with the humorous and lighthearted tone, show kids the importance of eating their veggies without giving heavy-handed lessons. An authors note explains the origins of the Paul Bunyan story.
Praise for Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure
"Cheerful gouache illustrations, which appear to be partly influenced by 1920s animated cartoons and contemporary street art, bounce with energy, driving the story forward as their adventures unfold...The inclusion of colorful, hand-lettered text adds emphasis and acts as a balance to the art."
"Newcomer Luckhursts manic gouache artwork and hand-lettered typography grab attention in this pancake-themed twist on the Paul Bunyan legend...The sheer voltage of Luckhursts artwork—Robert Neubecker by way of Robert Crumb—makes this a notable debut, one whose boisterous display type lends itself to noisy readalouds."
"Luckhursts gouache-on-paper artwork is bright and bold, and the text works well as a storytime read-aloud. As one would expect, the author takes the exaggerated and hyperbolic aspects of this tale and uses them to great effect."
—School Library Journal
"The cartoonlike, folksy gouache-and-paper illustrations are fitting for the larger-than-life story, and the hand-lettered typeface adds extra oomph."
RECOMMENDED - Parents' Choice Award Winner, Picture Books
New York Public Librarys Children's Books 2012: 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list
The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Spring 2013
About the Author
Matt Luckhurst, a descendant of Canadian loggers, is originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts MFA design program. This is his first picture book. He lives in Brooklyn.
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