Nursery Crimes

Nursery Crimes

by Arthur Geisert
     
 

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Jambo and Marva emigrated from France to Iowa and opened a small tree nursery.They and their piglets were skilled topiarists. Every autumn, they sculpted giant turkey topiaries, for which there was a big demand. One morning, Jambo awoke to discover all of their turkeys stolen! Things looked grim, but Marva had a plan. Glowing etchings fill the pages with dramatic

Overview

Jambo and Marva emigrated from France to Iowa and opened a small tree nursery.They and their piglets were skilled topiarists. Every autumn, they sculpted giant turkey topiaries, for which there was a big demand. One morning, Jambo awoke to discover all of their turkeys stolen! Things looked grim, but Marva had a plan. Glowing etchings fill the pages with dramatic images of giant turkey topiaries.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The little piggies in Geisert's (Oink Oink) latest porcine paean try to go to market, but are temporarily derailed in this clever caper of a picture book. French emigrants Jambo and Marva Jambonneau and their 12 piglets run a successful tree nursery in Ames, Iowa (an area famous for its nurseries), where they show off their talents as gifted topiarists and raise giant pumpkins. Each autumn, the pigs and their neighbors work overtime to meet local demand for trees trimmed into the shape of turkeys. But after the Jambonneaus put the finishing touches on their first batch of turkey trees, their masterpieces mysteriously disappear during the night. Family teamwork, Marva's quick thinking and the oversize squashes all play a part in discovering the thief just in time for a fine fall harvest sale. Geisert combines history, unique Midwestern color and fun in his simple yet snappy text. His intricate, evocative hand-colored etchings incorporate bits of bright and clunky salvage strewn about the nursery, adding character to the scenes. And his lush turkey topiaries would be a boon to any landscape. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jambo and Marva are anthropomorphic pigs that have emigrated from France to Iowa where they conduct a business combining a tree nursery, giant pumpkin patch and salvage yard. Their twelve piglets have been carefully trained in the topiary arts. In the fall, the pigs clip a large number of trees into turkey shapes and wake up one morning to find them all stolen. They search their property for clues and find suspicious tire tracks leading to Voler's property. Voler is a notorious thief, but they have no proof that his turkeys are actually theirs. They sculpt more trees and hide at night in large, hollowed-out pumpkins, hoping to catch him. But they all fall asleep, and the trees disappear. However, a hard frost during the night enables them to catch Voler, because Jambo's trees are deciduous, not evergreen, and have turned orange. Sales of trees and pumpkins flourish, and Jambo's family is saved from poverty. The clever, simply written narrative is amusingly illustrated with full and double-page spreads in autumn colors, which show the pigs industriously at work in the nursery amid wrecked railroad cars, boilers, statues, towers and such, their unusual house constructed of salvage parts, and pleasant farm scenes. 2001, Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin, $16.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer:Patricia Dole
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-A story about Jambo and Marva, porcine pruners whose stock of giant topiary turkeys is stolen shortly before Thanksgiving. There's not much mystery as to the identity of the perpetrator. "It looked like Voler's work. He was always suspected when topiaries were missing-," but absolute proof of his guilt is hard to determine, as he has his own collection of topiary turkeys. That is, until the first frost causes the leaves to change color. The worthy protagonists' turkeys are readily distinguishable amid the stock at Voler's because the good pigs used deciduous trees, unlike the villain's evergreens. All this silliness is really just an excuse to showcase Geisert's delightful engravings that, in a departure from his usual work, are in full color. The illustrations depict the French pigs now living in Iowa at work in the tree nursery; at rest in their house fashioned from pieces of a caboose, a school bus, a church, and other architectural detritus; and on the trail of the miscreant. This is a truly unusual Thanksgiving offering.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This whimsical whodunit, longer on visual appeal than internal logic, kicks off with the overnight disappearance of a crop of huge turkey topiaries from the nursery-cum-salvage-yard of aptly named Jambonneau and his dainty wife Merville de Peru. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, is their business ruined? And is this the work of notorious topiary thief Voler? Clues point that way, but not clearly enough to make an accusation, because Voler's yard is stuffed with similar-looking leafy gobblers. Typically, children willing to study Geisert's colored etchings will have a field day picking out the details. The bereft gardeners, with their 12 energetic children, live in a house constructed from railroad cars and an Iowa school bus, surrounded by giant pumpkins, plus inviting reefs of building and machine parts. In the end, Merville-or "Marva," as she is known-outwits Voler by choosing deciduous shrubs to shape; those too disappear, but come the first hard frost they change color, standing out in Voler's yard like sore thumbs, and off to jail he goes. It's a Thanksgiving story with a difference, played out con brio by an all-porcine cast. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618956715
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/24/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.12(d)
Lexile:
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Arthur Geisert’s unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators’, annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.

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