Old Granny and the Bean Thief

Overview

Take your friends where you can find them!

Old Granny is lonely, living way out in the country with no one to talk to. She’s happy enough, though, as long as she has her beans. One night a thief climbs through the window of her little cabin while she’s sleeping and steals her beans! Old Granny sets out to see the sheriff. Along the way, she meets an odd assortment of talking creatures: a snake, a pecan, a cow patty, a prickly pear cactus, and an alligator. Soon they’ve all ...

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Overview

Take your friends where you can find them!

Old Granny is lonely, living way out in the country with no one to talk to. She’s happy enough, though, as long as she has her beans. One night a thief climbs through the window of her little cabin while she’s sleeping and steals her beans! Old Granny sets out to see the sheriff. Along the way, she meets an odd assortment of talking creatures: a snake, a pecan, a cow patty, a prickly pear cactus, and an alligator. Soon they’ve all befriended Old Granny, and joined forces to help her foil the thief in this humorous tale that glows with the bright, bold colors of the Southwest.

 

Old Granny and the Bean Thief is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

After a thief steals Old Granny's beans while she is asleep at night, she gets some surprising help with catching him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
DeFelice (The Real, True Dulcie Campbell) takes readers to the backcountry once again with the confident voice of a true teller of tall tales. When the beans she's cooking are stolen three nights in a row, Old Granny gets "madder than a pussycat thrown into a pond," and embarks on a long trip to town so she can tell the sheriff. On the way, she meets an odd collection of things: a talking water snake, pecan, cow-patty (certain to elicit delighted expressions of disgust) and more. In fairy-tale fashion, all ask Old Granny where she's going and all advise, "Old Granny, on your way home, pick me up and put me in your sack. You'll be glad you did." In each instance-but especially in the case of the cow patty-Granny must overcome her reluctance before she can take her new friends home. Her resolve is rewarded when the collection choreographs a kid-pleasingly slapstick routing of the robber. Smith (No More Nasty) chooses the red earth and dusky blue shadows of southwestern deserts for her down-home, spirited gouache spreads and vignettes, even though the narrative's details don't necessarily locate the story there. Her generic rural dialect ("So she picked up that cactus real careful-like") and classic plot structure suggest a broader context: the realm of the sturdy country fable. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Old Granny lives out in the country and so she often gets lonely with no one to talk to. One way she has found to cope with her loneliness is her love for beans. She always has some cooking in the oven and soaking in a pot on the stove. Old Granny was quite content until a thief came night after night and ate all her beans. Old Granny finally got so mad she decided to go into town to tell the sheriff about the thief. It was quite a long journey into town so she left prepared with a walking stick. Along the way, she encounters a variety of interesting creatures including a snake, a pecan, a cow patty, a cactus and an alligator. All of them suggested she put them in her sack for the walk, but she ignored them all thinking they were just full of nonsense. In the end, Old Granny never did talk to the sheriff, but with the help of her new friends she was able to get rid of the bean thief. A delightful tale for sparking readers imaginations. 2003, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 5 to 9.
— Michele Wilbur
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A bold thief has been sneaking into Old Granny's house to steal from her pot of beans. After three straight nights of pilfering, she decides to enlist the sheriff's aid. On her way into town, she crosses the path of a talking alligator, snake, cactus, pecan, and cow patty, all of which offer to help her stop the thief. Since the sheriff has gone fishing, Old Granny accepts their offer. She totes the absurd assortment of helpers back home, arranges them around the house as they ask, and bids them all good night. When the sneaky bean thief returns after dark, the fortuitously placed characters scare, smack, slip, prick, and bite him in turn, driving him away forever. DeFelice puts a Southwestern twist on an old folk motif in this tale that's reminiscent of "Jack and the Animals" or "The Nung-Gwama." The down-home narrative is folksy and fun to read aloud, particularly Granny's refrain, "In a pig's eye! My, oh, my!" Smith uses a Southwestern palette in her cartoon-style paintings, setting Granny and friends against dusty pink mesas and a slate blue sky. Each of the helpers-down to the tiny pecan-is endowed with bright eyes and a broad smile. The story is sure to be an easy sell with primary graders (what child can resist a grinning, talking cow patty?) and a welcome addition to storytimes.-Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
DeFelice reshapes a folktale with a Southwestern flavor. After an unseen thief nicks her beans three nights running, Granny marches off to tell the Sheriff. On the way, she encounters a water snake, a pecan, a cow patty, a prickly pear, and an alligator-all of whom address her politely and suggest that she take them home with her. Listeners will quickly pick up her repeat, "In a pig's eye!," and laugh when all do accompany her home (the Sheriff having gone fishing) to arrange themselves in strategic positions for the thief's next visit. Smith uses a muddy palette, but captures the story's humor in Granny's theatrically exaggerated gestures and the smiling faces of her low-slung new allies. As in all the variations on "Bremen Town Musicians," the elaborately drawn-out set-up leads to a quick, rousing climax in which the malefactor (here, a raccoon) gets a lesson he won't soon forget. A fresh take on a reliable crowd-pleaser. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374356149
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/7/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.14 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia DeFelice has written many popular middle-grade novels and picture books, most recently The Real, True Dulcie Campbell. She lives in upstate New York.

Cat Bowman Smith is a veteran illustrator of children’s books, including No More Nasty by Amy MacDonald. She lives in Pittsford, New York.

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