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Granite Baby
     

Granite Baby

by Lynne Bertrand, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)
 

Five giant sisters meet their match in one tiny baby!

Back when folks first discovered granite, five burly sisters ruled the mountains of New Hampshire. No problem was too big for those women. But when one sister carves a real live baby out of granite, a big problem appears that is, you might say, too small.
Lil Fella wailed so much that no one north of

Overview

Five giant sisters meet their match in one tiny baby!

Back when folks first discovered granite, five burly sisters ruled the mountains of New Hampshire. No problem was too big for those women. But when one sister carves a real live baby out of granite, a big problem appears that is, you might say, too small.
Lil Fella wailed so much that no one north of the Kancamagus Highway could eat, sleep, or plow. "Do something!" everyone demanded. But what? The five gals, who are strong enough to move mountains, are flummoxed . . . until a young backwoods girl named Nellie offers a small, simple suggestion.

With its droll humor and inventive, witty pictures, this uproarious tall tale is a true original - one not to be missed.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A refreshingly original tale, this yarn will enthrall storytime audiences.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

“Splendid.” —Starred, Booklist

“Wild, rollicking, and boopsie-cute, this tall tale scampers over the granite hilltops of New Hampshire without a misstep. Bertrand's storytelling talent is as titanic as her heroines'. Not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Delightful. The story is well told, the setting is clearly described, and the vocabulary has a down-home flavor that adds to its comforting tone. Hawkes's..paintings are filled with interesting details. This rock-solid tale will quickly become a favorite.” —School Library Journal

“Fans of...similar outsized yarns will holler with glee at this new arrival.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“Bertrand's text, loaded with folksy humor and a good dose of exaggeration, is well matched by Hawkes's color-drenched paintings, which include fantastic details while capturing the story's vast scale.” —The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly
Wild, rollicking, and boopsie-cute, this tall tale scampers over the granite hilltops of New Hampshire without a misstep. When Jade, Em, Golda, Ruby and Beryl, five Amazon-scaled, colossally talented women, open a quarry, everything goes smoothly until the creative bug bites Beryl. She starts carving a picnic lunch one day, "granite root beer and finger sandwiches, granite dip and deviled eggs." As a finale, she approaches some pink granite and says, "Watch as I carve it into a real live baby." Her creation, Lil Fella, comes to life; he "cried, wailed, screamed, and hollered till you could actually see his yellin' in the crisp New Hampshere air." For all their strength and talent, the five sisters cannot comfort him. "Pretty soon nobody north of the Kancamagus Highway could eat, sleep or plow." In Hawke's (Weslandia) bucolic spreads, clouds of letters spew from Lil Fella's mouth-it's a great running gag. Bertrand's (One Day, Two Dragons) storytelling talent is as titanic as her heroines', and while her down-home diction would seem to be more likely overheard in Appalachia than New England, it's charming all the same. A girl named Nellie has to teach the sisters how to tone down their Bunyan-esque impulses before Lil Fella will quiet down. Readers of every size will roar at Bertrand's whoppers, and they will also enjoy a new twist on broad-shouldered American fables: sometimes smaller is better. Not to be missed. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Here is a rollicking original story with all the elements of a folktale delightfully written and boldly illustrated. Deep in the north woods of New Hampshire live five burly sisters each with a special talent. One sister can twist a river like a rag, one can whittle wood, one is handy with string, another is as strong as a bear and the last is the finest stonecutter in the Granite State. So fine is she, that she carves a real live baby from granite! The sisters name him Lil Fella and while they love him from the start none of them knows how to care for a tiny baby. Lil Fella's crying sets into motion a series of rib-tickling events as each sister does her awkward best to use her talent to soothe the baby. But the baby is not to be calmed by Em's giant rocking chair, or Golda's intricate string engine and seventy-two railroad cars, or Ruby's shaking out the White Mountain divide to give him some shade. It takes a young girl to show the super-size sisters just what a little cuddling and cooing can accomplish. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Bertrand has created loveable tall-tale characters in the mold of Paul Bunyan and Anne Isaac's Swamp Angel. The larger-than-life illustrations capture all the down-home charm of these mountain folk. 2005, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 6 to 10.
—Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-When five giant sisters open a quarry on Umbagog Lake in New Hampshire, one of them carves a miniature granite town, finishing with a tiny stone baby. Lil Fella wails unceasingly, and the siblings can't get him quiet. Nellie, a young wannabe stonecutter, offers some ideas-give him warm clothes, food, etc. However, since everything the sisters fashion is of stone and giant-sized, nothing works. Finally, human-sized Nellie takes the infant into her arms and rocks him to sleep. The sisters realize that a cozy cradle and soft smile do more for a fussy baby than all the newfangled granite creations they can provide. With its larger-than-life female superachievers, this delightful story is a welcome addition to the male-dominated canon of tall tales. Bertrand also provides a twist to the usual format, for unlike heroes such as Paul Bunyan and Sally Ann Thunder, the enormous sisters are unable to solve their problem with their colossal talents, but must rely on a clever, but much smaller, girl. This turnabout will resonate with youngsters who often feel overwhelmed by a world of adults. The story is well told, the setting is clearly described, and the vocabulary has a down-home flavor that adds to its comforting tone. Hawkes's brightly colored acrylic paintings are filled with interesting details, his landscape is decidedly New England, and his characters' emotions are plainly visible in their facial expressions and trademark big eyes. This rock-solid tall tale will quickly become a favorite.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Considerably taller than average, this original tale pits five towering, talented but not naturally maternal sisters against a wee baby whose continual howls actually rise in a cloud to cover parts of three New England states. Big Beryl has no trouble carving whole towns out of stone, but when she sets her chisel to making a tiny baby, the resulting noise sends her and her variously gifted sisters into such a tizzy that they can't rightly understand even the savvy advice of Nellie, a more commonly sized lass with "two dozen or so little brothers and sisters." Depicted as burly, mountain-sized figures, dressed in work clothes and generally exuding a capable air, the sisters tramp through their green New Hampshire hills, desperately performing one astounding feat after another as Lil Fella bawls ever more lustily. The light only dawns when, at last, Nellie takes matters into her own hands-or, to be more exact, arms-and peace is soon restored. Fans of Jerdine Nolen's Big Jabe (2000), Catherine Anderson's Steamboat Annie and the Thousand Pound Catfish (2001), and similar outsized yarns will holler with glee at this new arrival. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374327613
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Publication date:
04/06/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
36
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 12.14(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Lynne Bertrand's One Day, Two Dragons was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book. She lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Kevin Hawkes is the acclaimed illustrator of books such as The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn Lasky, an ALA Notable Book, and Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. He lives in Gorham, Maine.

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