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Ol Bloo's Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble


The Bremen Town Musicians, featuring a group of questionably talented but determined animals, is retold with a spicy Louisiana flair.

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The Bremen Town Musicians, featuring a group of questionably talented but determined animals, is retold with a spicy Louisiana flair.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The story of the Bremen Town Musicians works just as well in the American South as it does in the Black Forest. Ol’ Bloo Donkey doesn’t have as much singing talent as he thinks he does--“Now, if you can imagine the sound an accordion makes fallin’ down a flight of stairs, you got some notion of the sound...”--but that doesn’t stop him from seeking his fortune in New Orleans with a similarly gifted group (Rusty Red Rooster’s voice sounds “like a player piano bein’ hit with an ax”). The illustrations are a surprise; in contrast to the antic narration, Sørensen (My Love Will Be with You) contributes thoughtful, painterly landscapes of the tin-roofed buildings and dry scrub of the South, and realistic portraits of the animals (save for the eye patch on One-Eyed Lemony Cat). Small black silhouettes adjacent to the main paintings add another layer of visual interest. Read-aloud audiences will giggle at the dialect, nonstop action, and atmospheric descriptions of Huling’s (Puss in Cowboy Boots) retelling: “There was gumbo and étouffée, muffalettas and po-boys, pralines and bread puddin’, and more besides.” Ages 6–10. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
Come along with an old donkey, a gnarly dog, a one-eyed cat and a rusty red rooster as they set off for New Orleans to sing in a honky-tonk. All have been useful to someone in the past, but have since found out they are not cute enough, young enough, or valuable enough to stay in their homes anymore. Ol' Bloo Donkey announces he has a "bee-yoo-ti-ful singing voice" (it really sounds like an accordion falling down the stairs) and upon hearing the others singing, invites them to find their fame and fortune in the big city. As evening approaches, they see a cabin in the distance and meander up to the window. Who they see in the window does not look like they would be music lovers; still, they begin their serenade. Such a ruckus and clamor sent all four tumbling through the window frightening the cabin dwellers—who are really thieves dividing up their loot and enjoying the spoils from their latest heist. This witty re-telling of the Grimm Brothers' The Bremen Town Musicians is carried out with a Southern flair, and really holds readers attention when read aloud. Sorensen's illustrations are terrific, with the end papers being especially exquisite. One could linger with them for a spell. The ?shadow' illustrations complement the text as well as the oil illustrations, making for a unique combination of art to embellish this story. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Many readers will recognize the cover silhouette of four animals standing tall on one another's backs. The donkey, dog, cat, and rooster are surely those familiar music makers from Bremen. Huling casts them as the Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble in this humorous spin on the Grimms' tale. As in Puss in Cowboy Boots (S & S, 2002), she sets her retelling in the rural South. Ol' Bloo Donkey, overhearing Farmer Brown's decision that "we can't afford to feed no critter that can't work," runs off "to seek fame and fortune, hee-hawin' all the way." He sets his sights on singing in a New Orleans honky-tonk and soon acquires a band of sorry cohorts. As expected, nightfall brings them to a cabin occupied by "three rough, tough, ugly-lookin' thieves, jest glarin' at one another and pickin' their teeth with their knives." Huling has fun with dialogue and details, casting them in down-home language for a fulsome embellishment of the spare original. Sørensen's oils are softly fulsome, too, focusing on the homely, comic personalities of the animals and humans. Small, black-silhouette scenes facing many paintings are a suggestive tie to the original tale. Though the narrators are a bit loquacious, the rhythmic prose moves nicely. Some of the jazzy terms will be more familiar to adults, who are probably the most likely audience anyway for this spoof. The story should read aloud well, and the One-Eyed Lemony Cat all puffed up and screechin' in the match light of the thief will scare and delight many a viewer.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Huling's fresh variant on "The Bremen Town Musicians" conveys a narrative musicality all its own. Faithfully adapting motifs and characters from Grimm, she swaps Bremen for the equally elusive New Orleans. Ol' Bloo Donkey, fleeing slaughter by his farmer, sets off for work in a honky tonk. No matter that the confident donkey's voice (the jocular narrator confides) "sounded like an accordion fallin' down the stairs." Ol' Bloo and his new pals Gnarly Dog, One-Eyed Lemony Cat and Rusty Red Rooster (all equally hard up and pleased with their own caterwauls) scare a trio of thieves from a woodland cabin, gorge on their Creole feast and retire there peacefully, New Orleans a long-forgotten destination. The title—which apparently commemorates the author's college band's name—is the only misapplied element here: Bayou cadences, outré metaphors for each animal's singing and an easy way with a rueful folkloric voice make this a treasure. Sørensen's pastoral oil paintings alternate with crisp black silhouettes, suiting the tale—but it's the lively narrative that sings right on key. (Picture book/folktale. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561454365
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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