Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One [NOOK Book]

Overview

Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times best-selling Mercy Watson books. Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse—until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the ...
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Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One

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Overview

Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times best-selling Mercy Watson books. Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse—until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters—Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy—for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Betsy Bird
DiCamillo…has always been at her best when dwelling on the good and the bad in relationships between humans and animals, and Van Dusen knows precisely how best to present Leroy to us. Seen here, the incipient cowboy is short and needle-nosed, but displaying that gleam you find only in the eyes of people pursuing their desires.
Publishers Weekly
★ 06/02/2014
Leroy Ninker, the diminutive aspiring cowboy last seen trying to steal a toaster from the Watson household in Mercy Watson Fights Crime (2006), gets his own starring vehicle in this kickoff to a spinoff series, Tales from Deckawoo Drive, featuring characters from DiCamillo’s books about the toast-loving pig Mercy. His thieving days behind him, Leroy works concessions at the Bijou Drive-In Theater and wishes he could ride into the sunset like the cowboys in Wednesday night’s Western double feature. Leroy’s boots, hat, and lasso can only take him so far—he needs a horse. His coworker Beatrice points him in the right direction, and Leroy finds his steed in a well-traveled horse named Maybelline. DiCamillo effortlessly slips back into the comfortable rhythms of Mercy’s world, infusing every chapter with subdued wit, warmth, and heart. Van Dusen matches the text stride-for-stride, delivering caricatured spot art and full-page scenes of the Pinocchioesque Leroy and the four-toothed, spaghetti-loving Maybelline, who Leroy comes to consider “the most splendiferous horse in all of creation.” Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
DiCamillo … has always been at her best when dwelling on the good and the bad in relationships between humans and animals, and Van Dusen knows precisely how best to present Leroy to us.
—The New York Times Book Review

Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen strike gold again with this charming addition to the Mercy Watson story-verse. ... As with her Mercy Watson books, DiCamillo manages something extremely difficult in an early reader series--a delicious sense of language that is playful and poetic while also staying accessible and appropriate. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is full of immensely likable characters, unexpected plot twists and humor that will appeal equally to kids and adults. Chris Van Dusen's personality-filled illustrations perfectly complement the writing, making this a very enjoyable read-aloud.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)

DiCamillo effortlessly slips back into the comfortable rhythms of Mercy’s world, infusing every chapter with subdued wit, warmth, and heart. Van Dusen matches the text stride-for-stride, delivering caricatured spot art and full-page scenes of the Pinocchioesque Leroy and the four-toothed, spaghetti-loving Maybelline, who Leroy comes to consider "the most splendiferous horse in all of creation."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

DiCamillo’s quirky, eccentric characters speak in flowery sentiments and employ charming wordplay. Along with Van Dusen’s well-matched illustrations, there’s a sweet, retro innocence reminiscent of McCloskey’s classic "Homer Price." Despite the old-fashioned accent, the absurdities will easily appeal to a modern audience. Filled with love and kindness and glorious sweet-talk: "Yippee-i-oh."
—Kirkus Reviews

Fans of Mercy Watson will delight in meeting Maybelline, a horse who loves to hear the melody of pretty words, likes the company of others, and enjoys spaghetti noodles. ... Van Dusen’s black-and-white cartoon pictures provide a lighthearted humor that makes the book a good choice for transitioning readers. Character driven, this fast-paced story is sure to please. A fun new edition to the cast and crew of "Mercy Watson."
—School Library Journal

DiCamillo’s use of inventive and colorful language and Van Dusen’s stylized gouache illustrations make this story click; give this to graduates of the earlier series looking for a bit more of a challenge.
—Booklist

Spot art, full-page art, and double-page spreads with Van Dusen’s characteristic shiny-faced characters infuse the plot with extra energy and expression. Part cowboy story and part pet love story, this multi-layered tale beautifully balances comically exaggerated details and true spirit. Mercy Watson fans will enjoy being back in the saddle in this slightly more advanced spin-off.
—The Horn Book

Readers will have a hootenanny of a good time as this rookie cowboy learns to deal with these characteristics, and they’ll be especially pleased to find that the pair’s adventures (or misadventures) land them back on Deckawoo Drive meeting up with a few familiar faces from the Mercy Watson series, including that toast-loving pig. The text is lengthier here than in those books and the sentence structure more complicated, but there’s still the same skillful use of repetition, goofball humor, and easy accessibility. Mercy fans will be quick to cowboy up to this title.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo has incorporated characters from her popular Mercy Watson series into this charmer. ... Readers who love horses, cowboy fiction, DiCamillo, buttered toast, and the Mercy Watson series will enjoy this title.
—Library Media Connection

Fans of DiCamillo's popular Mercy Watson series, rejoice! ... Short, colorful sentences make this a surefire hit, either as a book for younger readers or a family read-aloud. Van Dusen's retro, hilarious caricatures are perfect.
—Plain Dealer

This transitional reader offers witty wordplay, a creative storyline, and endearing characters. ... DiCamillo’s brilliant use of descriptive language and character development coupled with a heartfelt message about friendship make this a must-have for the classroom.
—Reading Today Online

Colorful cowboy slang and silly caricatures multiply the laughs and together convey the 'yippie-i-oh' happiness at the heart of what becomes a love story.
—The San Francisco Chronicle

Children's Literature - Amy S. Hansen
Leroy wants to be a cowboy. Leroy dreams of being a cowboy. What Leroy learns is that being a cowboy is more than getting on the horse. A cowboy has to communicate with his horse, make a partner of his horse, and even make friends with his horse. And then, perhaps, one can be a cowboy. Told with the cadence of a tall tale, DiCamillo and Van Dusen do a remarkable job of immersing us in Leroy’s plight. We want Leroy to be the cowboy. On the other hand, we understand the horse and her need for communication. It is a tale without a villain, but it has plenty of emotions. In this new “Tales from Deckawoo Drive” series, DiCamillo takes some of the minor characters from the “Mercy Watson” series and gives them starring roles. However, the fans of Mercy Watson should be pleased as Mercy and Mrs. Watson have small, but noticeable, parts in this drama. Highly recommended for the chapter book readership but older kids will enjoy it as well. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 6 to 10.
School Library Journal
08/01/2014
K-Gr 2—Fans of Mercy Watson will delight in meeting Maybelline, a horse who loves to hear the melody of pretty words, likes the company of others, and enjoys spaghetti noodles. Leroy Ninker is a concession stand worker at the local drive-in movie theater with dreams of being a real-life cowboy. One day—"Yippie-i-oh"—he discovers a horse for sale. Leroy ends up choosing Maybelline for his mount. Adventure ensues as Leroy must learn how to ride her, find her food and shelter, and cure her fear of rain. Van Dusen's black-and-white cartoon pictures provide a lighthearted humor that makes the book a good choice for transitioning readers. Character driven, this fast-paced story is sure to please. A fun new edition to the cast and crew of "Mercy Watson" (Candlewick).—Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
Leroy Ninker dreams of being an honest-to-goodness cowboy as he watches Western movies while working at the concession stand at the drive-in theater.He has some of the lingo down pat, and he knows he will need boots, a hat and a lasso. But his co-worker points out that he is missing the most important element of all: a horse. Providentially, there is a horse for sale. Though she is swaybacked and almost toothless, it is love at first sight when Leroy sees Maybelline. Leroy is given some unusual instructions; he must sweet-talk and compliment the horse, feed her plenty of grub and never leave her alone for more than a few moments. So there he is with a horse that won’t fit through his door, gobbles up potfuls of spaghetti and needs constant attention. Adventures and misadventures abound, and both horse and cowboy become lost in a scary storm. But with a little help from some old friends who have appeared in the author-illustrator team’s earlier works, it all comes together with the expected happy ending. DiCamillo’s quirky, eccentric characters speak in flowery sentiments and employ charming wordplay. Along with Van Dusen’s well-matched illustrations, there’s a sweet, retro innocence reminiscent of McCloskey’s classic Homer Price. Despite the old-fashioned accent, the absurdities will easily appeal to a modern audience.Filled with love and kindness and glorious sweet-talk: “Yippee-i-oh.” (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763674083
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Series: Tales from Deckawoo Drive Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 164,807
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Kate DiCamillo, the author of six books about Mercy Watson, is the beloved and renowned author of many books for young readers, including Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and The Tale of Despereaux, both of which won Newbery Medals. In 2014 she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She lives in Minneapolis.

Biography

Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, moved to Florida's warmer climate when she was five years old, and landed in Minneapolis in her 20s.

While working at a children's bookstore, DiCamillo wrote her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). It was inspired by one of the worst winters in Minnesota, when she became homesick for Florida after overhearing a little girl with a southern accent. One thing led to another, and soon DiCamillo had created the voice of Opal Buloni, a resilient ten-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her father. Opal's mother abandoned the family when she was three years old, and her father has a hard time explaining why.

Thoug her father is busy and she has no friends, Opal's life takes a turn for the better when she adopts a fun-loving stray dog, Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him, out in the parking lot). With Winn-Dixie as her guide, Opal makes friends with the eccentric people of her new town and even convinces her father to talk about her mother. Through Opal, readers are given a gift: a funny and heartrending story of how one girl's spirit can change her life and others'. Critics loved the book as much as readers, and in 2001, Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book.

DiCamillo's second novel, The Tiger Rising (2001), also deals with the importance of friendships, families, and making changes. Twelve-year-old Rob Horton and his father are dealing with grief, anger, and isolation after moving to Lister, Florida, six months after Rob's mother succumbs to cancer. Rob's father has a job at a motel (where they both also live), but it barely pays the bills. Struggling through the loss of his mother, Rob stifles his many confusing emotions as he battles bullies at his new school, worries about a rash on his legs, and copes with living in poverty.

In many ways, The Tiger Rising is a darker, more challenging story than Because of Winn-Dixie, but there is a similar light of deliverance in this beautiful novel: the healing power of friendship. Two meetings change Rob's life. First, he encounters a caged lion in the woods. Shortly thereafter he meets Sistine, who has recently moved to Lister after her parents' divorce. Sistine and Rob are polar opposites -- she stands up to the school bullies and lets out every bit of her anger at her parents' divorce and her relocation. Through Sistine, Rob recognizes himself in the caged lion, and the story of how the two children free the beast is one of the most engaging reads in contemporary young adult fiction. With the lion free, Rob is free to grieve the loss of his mother and move on with his bittersweet new life in Lister. A National Book Award finalist, The Tiger Rising is hard to put down as it overflows with raw, engaging emotion.

In 2003, DiCamillo's third novel, The Tale of Despereaux, was released to the delight of readers and critics alike. This odd but enthralling fairy tale also touches on some of the topics from her first two novels -- parental abandonment and finding the courage to be yourself. The hero, Despereaux Tilling, is a mouse who has always been different from the rest of his family, and to make matters worse, he has broken a serious rule: interacting with humans, particularly Princess Pea, who captures his heart. When Despereaux finds himself in trouble with the mouse community, he is saddened to learn that his father will not defend him. Characters in the tale are Princess Pea, whose mother died after seeing a rat in her soup; King Pea, who, in his grief, declares that no soup may be served anywhere in the kingdom; Miggery Sow, a servant girl who dreams of being a princess after being sold into servitude by her father after her mother dies; and Roscuro, a villainous rat with a curious soup obsession.

The story of how the characters' paths cross makes The Tale of Despereaux an adventurous read, reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales. In the spirit of love and forgiveness, Despereaux changes everyone's life, including his own. As the unnamed, witty narrator of the novel tells us, "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." Kate DiCamillo's limitless imagination and her talent for emotional storytelling earned her one of the most prestigious honors a children's author can receive -- in 2004, she was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Good To Know

DiCamillo wrote The Tale of Despereaux for a friend's son, who had asked her to write a story for him about a hero with large ears.

In our interview, DiCamillo shared some other fun facts with us: :

"I can't cook and I'm always on the lookout for a free meal."

"I love dogs and I'm an aunt to a very bad dog named Henry."

"My first job was at McDonald's. I was overjoyed when I got a nickel raise."

"I'm a pretty boring person. I like reading. I like eating dinner out with friends. I like walking Henry. And I like to laugh."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 25, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    I saw this on display when I was at the library picking up a hol

    I saw this on display when I was at the library picking up a hold. I love the Mercy Watson books and was so excited to see this new series. Featuring characters from the Mercy Watson books, this one stars Leroy Ninker who first showed up on Deckawoo Drive as a thief. He now works at a drive-in theatre dreaming of being a cowboy. He's got all the clothes and the lingo, but he's missing one thing, the horse. An adorable, sweet, funny story. I just loved it. This is a step up from the Mercy books, being an early chapter book with b/w illustrations by the same illustrator. The story doesn't feature Mercy and almost entirely takes place away from Deckawoo Drive but at the end Leroy ends up there, meets Mercy and the book ends with that familiar scene of everybody around the breakfast table at the Watson's. Wonderful! I can't wait to see who the next book will feature!

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    As a teacher of Kindergarten kids, I have read the Mercy Watson

    As a teacher of Kindergarten kids, I have read the Mercy Watson books to the kids for years.   We have been saying for years that we need a new Mercy Book.  Finally we get one.  This book is at a higher level reading than the Mercy Watson books, but there are bits of the same story arcs that we are familiar with.   The color pictures of the Mercy Watson books have been replaced with black and white images, and they are not as prevalent as we the previous stories.  
    I am really happy with the way this book turned out.  It starts a little slow, and it was hard for the kids to get engaged, but by the time we got to the really exciting ending, the kids were riveted.  They could not WAIT to hear the end.  And what a great end it is.  You do not want to miss this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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