Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wickedly spicy jalapeno peppers are not for the meek, but cowboy Jalapeno Hal--hero of Harper's zesty debut--eats them like regular folks eat potato chips. When Hal moseys into downtown Presidio on his trusty horse Cayenne, everyone stays out of his way, for not only is he ``the toughest hombre in Texas''--he has ``mean breath . . . scorching-hot breath.'' Still, a boy named Kit admires Hal, and when a drought hits Presidio, Kit and Hal remedy the situation with Hal's favorite snack. This development creatively--if unscientifically--introduces the concept of condensation: rain-producing steam streams from the townspeople's noses and ears after they eat Hal's peppers. Despite his unorthodox methods, ornery loner Hal is the classic cowpoke and Kit has the enviable role of sidekick; girls, however, are excluded from this elite range-riding set, and Kit's demure mother does nothing more adventurous than weed the garden. Harris ( The Day the Lifting Bridge Stuck ) contributes polished illustrations of wavy black outlines and sunset-brilliant colors. Initial caps are branding irons, cacti or barbed wire, as befits the Western motif. Although Harper's debut treads familiar turf--and offers little to aspiring cowgirls--it will satisfy latter-day Davy Crocketts and encourage a craving for the piquant. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Way down in west Texas, smack in the middle of Big Bend country, lives the roughest, toughest hombre since Pecos Bill. Coyotes, mountain lions, dogs, and people cower in his presence. He lives on rattlesnake stew and, of course, jalapeos. So when the little town of Presidio is hit with the worst drought it has ever seen, a young resident calls Hal to the rescue. The boy and his hot-breathed hero ride down to Mexico and round up all the jalapeo peppers they can find. Hal then orders everyone in Presidio to eat up. Soon steam rises from their noses and ears, forming a thunderstorm. The tall-tale genre is well suited to Texas hyperbole, and Harper's text reads smoothly, inviting a storyteller's poker-faced exaggeration and twang. Harris splashes the pages with desert contrasts of reds, oranges, rusts, and purples. Larger-than-life characters burst free from the pictures' borders. Barbed wire, peppers, and brands decorate the text. Large format and bold, bright illustrations make this title ideal for group sharing, and the swaggering bravado should delight children.-Claudia Cooper, Ft. Stockton Independent School District, TX

Product Details

McNay, Marion Koogler Art Museum
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.92(h) x 0.12(d)
430L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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