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Little Old Big Beard and Big Young Little Beard: A Short and Tall Tale

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The captivating illustrations in this oversize vertical volume lend much-needed verve to a meandering, shaggy dog story with a punch line about a cow named Grace. The textured watercolors feature unusual perspectives and design elements with childlike, cheery drawings of the title characters, two appealing cowboys. The deliberately repetitious opening focuses a great deal on the characters' height and the length of their beards; the plot, about the search for Grace, does not commence until page nine. While the spoofing is good-natured ("Now, as you know, you can't be a cowboy unless you have a cow," says the narrator), the mannered delivery will not be to everyone's taste. Eventually, Big Young Little Beard, standing in a pool of tears, hears a moo and says, "We have found Grace." But Little Old Big Beard, who is "older and wiser," says, "I think it would be more honest to say that Grace has found us." The last page features the cowboys singing "A-grazing Grace how sweet you found such wretched souls as we," a joke that will only be lost on readers unfamiliar with "Amazing Grace"; it would probably sound better if performed by Charlip's (Fortunately) Paper Bag Players. Ages 3-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The tall, narrow size of the book perfectly suits this cowboy tale of Old Big Beard (who is little) and Young Little Beard (who is big), who are best friends. Each evening they would camp at the top of the hill with their cow, Grace, and eat their favorite meal—beans, of course. One night, Grace was missing and so they went in search of her. They were so distraught at losing her they began to cry. Their tears formed puddles around their feet. But then they heard a familiar sound. Lo and behold, they had found Grace. Or at least she had found them. They returned to the top of the hill and the cowboys broke out in song, in a parody of a familiar hymn: "A-grazing Grace/ How sweet/ You Found/ Such wretched/ souls/ as we...." The tall tale aspects of this story will make it a popular choice for the primary grade curriculum. The interactive aspects, such as finding the hidden animals on the hillside and using a finger to follow the trail up the hill will appeal to the young readers. The cartoon-style illustrations are full of expression and humor befitting a tall tale. Background colors vary with the time of day. The intended audience may not understand the parody, but adults will laugh out loud. 2003, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 4 to 8.
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-With a goofy exuberance, Charlip relates the tale of two cowboys who, after a slow and tongue-twisty introduction, lose their cow, Grace. Since everyone knows you can't be a cowboy without a cow, they leap into action, searching for their bovine companion up and down and around and around until she finally finds them. The buckaroos croon a hilarious takeoff on the hymn "Amazing Grace" to cap their adventures. Told with a storyteller's ear for repetition and alliteration, the story begs for listeners to provide punch lines and chant along with the narration. The almost childlike watercolor illustrations feature simple lines and curves and warm, rich tones. Written simply enough for children to read independently (although all text is capitalized), the book will also find a ready audience in storytimes and one-on-one sharing.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761452881
  • Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 300
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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