Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis pourquoi cum cautionary tale maintains that "in the bare bones beginning, Armadillo's ears were as tall as a jackrabbit's." Any time one prairie animal confides in another, Armadillo's burro-like listening devices can be seen protruding from a bush or desert rock, vibrating as they collect secret information. With an evident gleam in his squinty eyes, Armadillo then passes the hurtful news along. He doesn't desist until he tattles on Alligator, who "nipped and snipped and clipped at Armadillo's ears until there was nothing left but tiny, teeny, itsy, weenie little ears." Ketteman (Heat Wave) justifies the punishment by listing Armadillo's repeat offenses; each injured party throws "one humongous hissy fit," and each embarrassed gossiper gives Armadillo "the what-for and the how-come and the why-not," to no avail. Graves (Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance) provides earth-tone images of arid Texas grassland, populated by critters like Rattlesnake, Blue Jay and Muskrat. He styles the title character as an obsequious, elephant-gray coward, given to sniveling when confronted. Ketteman and Graves provide a comical folktale, especially relevant to little pitchers. Ages 5-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's LiteratureFrom the author of Bubba the Cowboy Prince comes another Texas-style tale, this one explaining why the armadillo has short ears. "In the bare bones beginning, Armadillo's ears were as tall as a jackrabbit's and as wide as a steer's horns." With these ears, Armadillo could and did hear anything and everything. The problem was, he told what he heard, and what he told was always wrong. This made the other animals angry. Egret, Muskrat and Alligator all give Armadillo the "what-for, and the how-come, and the why-not," and then Alligator teaches him a lesson that changes him forever. The colorful acrylic, ink, and colored pencil illustrations are bold and exaggerated, making this a good story for group reading and discussion. 2000, Scholastic,
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 3-"In the bare bones beginning," Armadillo had huge, tall ears and could hear everything the other animals said. He loved to eavesdrop and then tell tales on them-tales that were a little bit twisted to make trouble. For instance, Armadillo told Blue Jay that Egret thought he was scraggly looking, and "Blue Jay squalled and he bawled, and he squawked and he gawked, and he otherwise threw one humongous hissy fit." After Armadillo made trouble for several other animals, Alligator decided to teach him an unforgettable lesson, and now, "you may hide in the bushes and listen as long as you like, but you will never, ever catch an armadillo telling tales." Bold, stylized illustrations in acrylic, ink, and colored pencil accompany the humorous, imaginative text, adding to the story's appeal-the exaggerated expressions on Armadillo's face are particularly amusing. The animals are all indigenous to Louisiana and Texas, so the book could be used to give a lighter touch to a Southern/Southwestern U.S. unit, or, then again, it could be read aloud for just plain fun, which it definitely is.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus ReviewsReminiscent of Aesop's Fables, Ketteman (Shoeshine Whittaker, 1999, etc.) tells a mirthful moral tale wherein a busybody armadillo learns the consequences of eavesdropping and gossiping. Armadillo has ears as long as a jackrabbit's, which allow him to hear everything he shouldn't and make it very difficult for him to get around. Those pesky ears are always getting under foot. Moreover, all the other animals, stung by his misspeak, have excluded him from the watering hole. Despite his constant thirst and "the what-for and the how-come and the why-not" scolding he's been treated to, Armadillo persists in his disagreeable behavior. He creeps about, bending an ear to other's conversations and then twisting what he's heard. He really gets himself in a fix when he crosses Alligator. One day he overhears Heron and Alligator discussing the way Toad's skin has improved, perhaps because of a changed diet. Armadillo passes this along to Toad, only his version has Alligator calling Toad's skin "plug-ugly" and suggesting she go on a diet. When Alligator discovers this she gives Armadillo what-for but she also adds gnashing teeth and some precise nipping here and there until all Armadillo has left are diminutive ears. From then on, Armadillo cannot hear quite so keenly, but his ears never trip him up again. Graves's waggish illustrations, an ideal match for the text, are painted in striking deep hues and make for fabulous eye-candy. Rarely is learning a lesson this much fun. (Picture book. 5-9)
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