From the Publisher
"Cole is a master at conveying the emotions of the characters, both animal and human. This engaging story and its resourceful heroine will appeal to many children."—Starred, School Library Journal
"A beguiling mix of rhythmic prose and snatches of verse . . . Fine fare for reading alone or aloud."—Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Satisfying fare indeed."--The Horn Book
"A spunky and self-contained folkloric heroine whose victory has nothing to do with getting the prince, our protagonist will be welcomed by many young listeners."—Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
"In both text and art, Cole...delivers an original fairy tale with lingering emotional resonance."—Starred, Publisher's Weekly
As in Larky Mavis, Cole introduces an eccentric village misfit who emerges a heroine. The bedraggled lass lives on the streets, selling "stale buns and paper birds," begging for food ("Sometimes she would starve") and singing aloud, much to the displeasure of the villagers who alternately dub her Scraps-and-Smells, Skin-and-Bones or Sweets-and-Treats. The mayor, an impotently compassionate patriarch adorned in purple finery, won't let them run her out of town, claiming, "The poor are always with us, and no good deed goes unrewarded." When a foul ogre threatens to ravage the village if he isn't given a maiden to wed, the residents gladly offer up the gawky young woman, whom they truss up in an ill-fitting gown and battered paper crown. The creature rejects her on sight, but she slyly persuades the townsfolk that the ogre wants both a dowry and a sharp sword. After the ogre swallows maiden, gold and jewels, and sword, the heroine slays the creature and outwits the villagers to strike off on her own, fully equipped with treasure. Cole speeds the action with his bustling ink-and-watercolor washes of the villagers, none of them who seems to pause, neither the well-dressed man who claps his hand over his purse when asked for help nor the plump lady with the disapproving expressions. In both text and art, Cole indicts the hypocritical villagers and delivers an original fairy tale with lingering emotional resonance. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
A nameless girl is homeless and alone in a small town. The villagers call her many names. To some she is "Scraps-and-Smells" and to others she is "Skin-and-Bones." They view her as a nuisance. One day, a hideous Ogre threatens the small town. He demands that they give him a fair maiden. The townspeople quickly turn to their homeless outcast. They dress her up in a pretty gown, put a paper crown on her head, and send her to the Ogre. But "Scraps-and-Smells" is clever and manages to outsmart everyone. This story uniquely reinvents the idea of the fairy tale heroine. This heroine, like others before her, suffers, but unlike most fairy tale maidens, she does not have any outside help. What she achieves, she achieves on her own. She uses a cunning intelligence to play off the weaknesses of both Ogre and townspeople. This heroine embodies the idea of capturing a seemingly bad turn of luck and turning it into the opportunity of a lifetime. The illustrations are both beautiful and painful. The heroine's unfortunate condition comes through palpably through the early illustrations. The Ogre is comedic and perfectly disgusting. This a story for the reader who is looking for something outside the conventions of the weak and insipid maiden in distress. This is recommended for its edgy turn and its interesting conclusion.
School Library Journal
A poor homeless girl, known only as "Scraps-and-Smells" or "Skin-and-Bones" or "Sweets-and-Treats," is barely tolerated by the townspeople. When a terrifying Ogre comes to the town gate demanding a bride, the frightened villagers quickly choose her as their offering. But this girl is not as dimwitted as she might seem, and she cleverly manages to get the best of both the foul Ogre and the ungrateful townspeople. The writing is vivid, incorporating some rhyming verse and some delicious vocabulary, making the story especially well suited for reading aloud. The descriptions are sometimes harsh and compelling: " . . . sometimes she would beg and sometimes she would starve . . . ." Strong ink outlines add energy to the watercolor illustrations, aptly conveying the events of the dramatic text. Cole is a master at depicting the emotions of the characters, both animal and human. This engaging story and its resourceful heroine will appeal to many children.
Robin L. GibsonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Like Larky Mavis (2001) but sans the metaphysics, this folklorish original tale gives a poor, scorned orphan a chance to show her inner stuff, and to make a fresh start. When an ogre-"Oh, he was a foul creature! His breath smelled of graves, and he had rats in his hair instead of lice"-appears at the town gates demanding a bride, the townsfolk dress the nameless beggar, sometimes dubbed "Scraps-and-Smells" or "Skin-and-Bones," in a fine gown and a paper crown, and push her out. She turns out to be quicker of wit than anyone supposes, however, and by the time the ogre finally swallows her down, she's acquired a sharp sword and a purse of gold-using the one to kill the monster and triumphantly carrying the other away as her reward, head held high. Cole writes in a beguiling mix of rhythmic prose and snatches of verse, paired to equally beguiling watercolor scenes of rumpled-looking figures in a medieval setting. Viewers who linger over the pictures will be rewarded with plenty of comical side details, but also come to appreciate the artist's genius for conveying character through subtleties of posture and expression. Fine fare for reading alone or aloud. (Picture book. 7-9)