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Barker's Crime

Barker's Crime

by Dick Gackenbach

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this adaptation of an Eastern European folktale, gluttonous Mr. Gobble refuses to toss even a crumb of his copious feasts to Barker, a skinny hound dog. Ever hopeful, the drooling Barker returns every day to watch Mr. Gobble gorge himself in the garden. Finally, the man demands that police arrest the pesky dog "for stealing... the aroma of my food." After a trial, the judge decrees that since the "intangible" part of the food was stolen, only the "intangible" part of the dog can be punished (kids are sure to pick up a new vocabulary word). Amid a jeering crowd, Mr. Gobble is ordered to whip Barker's shadow. Working an overripe palette of watercolors, Gackenbach (The Mighty Tree) costumes his characters as Revolutionary-era townspeople, lending a certain Poor Richard's Almanac morality to the proceedings. His introduction of a canine character heightens the absurdity in a child-pleasing way. Even so, this version lacks the atmospheric depth and smooth storytelling of Nina Jaffe and Louise August's treatment of the same tale, In the Month of Kislev. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Poor hungry Barker! Can a dog be arrested for stealing the aroma of greedy Mr. Gobbles food? Yes, I said, the aroma of Mr. Gobbles food. Well, Barker did get arrested. How will the judge rule in such a case? He comes up with an ingenious-solution. Don't worry Barker makes out fine. And greedy Mr. Gobbles gets what he deserves for not sharing.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3Barker, a scrawny waif of a dog, does the unforgivablehe steals the aroma of Mr. Gobble's daily feast. The greedy man is so angry that he has the beast arrested. Fortunately, the trial judge, known to be fair, pronounces a sentence that befits the crime, and the villagers roar with laughter at Mr. Gobble, further infuriating him. Gackenbach's irrepressible characters, rendered in pen and ink and watercolors in period dress (the police look like young Napoleons), are droll and expressive. Barker is a winner; but most humorous of all are the rear views of Mr. Gobble's ample behind as he escapes on the judge's large-rumped horse. Adapted from Louise Stinetorf's Beyond the Hungry Country (Lippincott, 1954; o.p.), the vocabulary is broad and sophisticated, creating a listenable story.Virginia Opocensky, formerly at Lincoln City Libraries, NE
Ilene Cooper
Based on the folktale "Beyond the Hungry Country", by Louise Stinetorf, this is the story of a hungry dog named Barker who drools at the sight of greedy Mr. Gobble's sumptuous meals. Gobble won't throw Barker a bone, but that doesn't deter the dog from inhaling the tantalizing smell of the food. Gobble doesn't even allow that and drags Barker off to court for stealing the meal's aroma. At first, it seems as if the judge is siding with Gob"ble, but with Solomonlike wisdom he rules that since Barker stole only the invisible spirit of the food, only Barker's shadow will be punished. Gobble must whip the shadow until, finally, it falls, much to the crowd's satisfaction. This lively tale with its sheen of justice accomplished is illustrated with brightly colored ink-and-watercolor paintings. An eighteenth-century setting puts the story firmly in the folktale world, and Gackenbach's familiar talent for highlighting the funny side is certainly in evidence here.

Product Details

Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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