Bad Day at Riverbend

Bad Day at Riverbend

5.0 2
by Chris Van Allsburg
     
 

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Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong.… See more details below

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Overview


Riverbend was a quiet little town, the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest and nothing ever happened. Occasionally the stagecoach rolled through, but it never stopped, because no one ever came to Riverbend and no one ever left. The day the stagecoach stood motionless in the center of town, Sheriff Ned Hardy knew something was terribly wrong. What was the mysterious substance on both coach and horses? It would not come off. Soon it was everywhere in the tidy little village. Something had to be done, and Sheriff Hardy aimed to do it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It's a book that starts with one point of view and steps into another. The average bildungsroman acoomplishes this kind of transition in several hundred pages: Van Allsburg does it in thirty-two." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Van Allsburg cuts loose with this inventive spoof that will keep readers guessing right up to the end. Riverbend is "the kind of place where one day was just like the rest," and it looks it, too-a simple collection of block houses and buildings outlined in black and white. Color soon appears on the scene, however, in the form of scribbles-"great stripes of some kind of shiny, greasy slime"-that puzzle and alarm the residents of Riverbend. Sheriff Ned Hardy aims to put an end to the mystery, and rides out with a posse in search of the answer. Turns out he and his townsfolk are actually trapped in a coloring book, a fact readers discover as the point of view shifts, pulls back and reveals a crayon-wielding hand coloring the pages with glee. Van Allsburg clearly had fun with this one, and readers likely will too. All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Author/illustrator Van Allsburg delights in tales that tread along the borders of reality. His latest offering is no exception, but unfortunately the story is sparse and aimed at children too young to enjoy the shifting perspective. Riverbend is beset by some awful presence, which leaves the townsfolk and the surrounding area smeared with greasy, slimy marks. At the end of this standard "sheriff rides out with posse to save the day" story, we realize that Riverbend exists only in a coloring book, and that a young child's scribbles are the scars marring the town. This book does not invite repeated readings.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
The imagination of this noted children's author (Polar Express, Jumanji) is mind-boggling. The storytelling comes from a sheriff with a serious problem on his hands-his posse is being streaked with greasy orange slashes that seem to come from a light in the western sky. Actually, the book is drawn to look like a coloring book and those waxy stripes all over the cowboys and horses are crayon marks made by a youngster. What a humorous and enriching opportunity for kids to seee things from another point of view. But hide the crayons-coloring may be irresistible.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this fantastical Wild West story set in an actual coloring book, the ``quiet little town'' of Riverbend is mysteriously invaded by a slimy substance-crayon marks from a child's scribbles-that has the effect of stunning and paralyzing people and animals. Sheriff Ned Hardy and his men set out to get to the bottom of what has been terrorizing the town. In the end, they, too, are stopped in their tracks by the waxy slime as a child, armed with a full range of crayolas, is shown coloring in the last page of her ``Cowboy Coloring Book.'' The illustrations of the town that readers see in the first pages are, appropriately, clean black-line drawings-not the rich, multidimensional illustrations usually associated with Van Allsburg's work. Like Jumanji (1981) and Ben's Dream (1982, both Houghton), this book's creative plot steps beyond the boundaries of reality, and because of its spare, coloring-book context, the artwork must also go beyond the artist's typical style. Larger collections will want to keep up with Van Allsburg's innovativeness, but this effort is pretty much a one-trick pony that most libraries can easily skip.-Christina Linz, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Carolyn Phelan
This may not be a book to "re"read, but the central joke is clever the first time through, and children will want to share it as soon as they figure out what's happening. Set in the Old West, the story concerns certain strange phenomena: a blinding light that freezes whatever it touches and, when the light has passed, marks of "greasy slime" on horses, buildings, cattle, and even people in the frontier town and surrounding countryside. For most of the book, the artwork consists of bold, black outlines of figures on a white background, brightened in spots with loosely scribbled lines of color resembling a small child's crayoning. In the last few pages, the picture broadens into a shaded, full-color scene of a small child crayoning in a cowboy coloring book. Pair this with Elizabeth MacDonald's "John's Picture" (1990), in which the characters in a child's picture draw their own companions and setting.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395673478
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/28/1995
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,322,513
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.44(d)
Lexile:
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"It's a book that starts with one point of view and steps into another. The average bildungsroman acoomplishes this kind of transition in several hundred pages: Van Allsburg does it in thirty-two." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

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