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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure
     

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure

by Matthew Luckhurst
 

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In this humorous twist on a classic tale, Paul Bunyan and his best friend, Babe the Blue Ox, leave life on the farm to work for a logger who pays them with their favorite thing: pancakes! Paul and Babe tromp across the country with the logger, filling valleys with pancake batter (forming the Rocky Mountains) and chasing down pancakes blown away by the wind

Overview

In this humorous twist on a classic tale, Paul Bunyan and his best friend, Babe the Blue Ox, leave life on the farm to work for a logger who pays them with their favorite thing: pancakes! Paul and Babe tromp across the country with the logger, filling valleys with pancake batter (forming the Rocky Mountains) and chasing down pancakes blown away by the wind (creating the Grand Canyon). But when Babe starts to feel sick from eating too many pancakes, the two realize that maybe the farm, with its variety of foods, is really the best place for them after all.
The engaging typography and illustrations, combined with the humorous and lighthearted tone, show kids the importance of eating their veggies without giving heavy-handed lessons. An author’s note explains the origins of the Paul Bunyan story.

Praise for Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure
"Cheerful gouache illustrations, which appear to be partly influenced by 1920s animated cartoons and contemporary street art, bounce with energy, driving the story forward as their adventures unfold...The inclusion of colorful, hand-lettered text adds emphasis and acts as a balance to the art."
Kirkus Reviews

"Newcomer Luckhurst’s manic gouache artwork and hand-lettered typography grab attention in this pancake-themed twist on the Paul Bunyan legend...The sheer voltage of Luckhurst’s artwork—Robert Neubecker by way of Robert Crumb—makes this a notable debut, one whose boisterous display type lends itself to noisy readalouds."
Publishers Weekly

"Luckhurst’s gouache-on-paper artwork is bright and bold, and the text works well as a storytime read-aloud. As one would expect, the author takes the exaggerated and hyperbolic aspects of this tale and uses them to great effect."
School Library Journal

"The cartoonlike, folksy gouache-and-paper illustrations are fitting for the larger-than-life story, and the hand-lettered typeface adds extra oomph."
Booklist

Awards:
RECOMMENDED - Parents' Choice Award Winner, Picture Books
New York Public Library’s Children's Books 2012: 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list
The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens - Spring 2013
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Newcomer Luckhurst’s manic gouache artwork and hand-lettered typography grab attention in this pancake-themed twist on the Paul Bunyan legend. Luckhurst leaves it to parents to explain what a lumberjack is and instead focuses on Paul and Babe’s steady diet of pancakes, despite Paul’s mother’s attempts to feed them healthier food (“I just cannot keep feeding you and Babe all these pancakes,” she complains, wielding a spatula and whisk, surrounded by stacks of flapjacks. “I have fields to tend”). Paul and Babe leave home to seek their (pancake) fortune; in one episode, Babe chases a tasty pancake and Paul tries to hold him back: “When Babe finally caught the pancake, he and Paul had dug up a huge swath of dirt that is now called the Grand Canyon.” After milking the pancake jokes for as long as he can, Luckhurst capitulates to the vegetable lobby and sends Paul and Babe home to eat broccoli. The sheer voltage of Luckhurst’s artwork—Robert Neubecker by way of Robert Crumb—makes this a notable debut, one whose boisterous display type lends itself to noisy readalouds. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Paul Bunyan was "a very big boy, born in a very small town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River." He and his blue ox, Babe, have trouble concentrating on anything but Mom's pancakes. She spends so much time making them that she can't tend her fields, and Paul and Babe's attempts to help out only end in squashed vegetables. So they decide to "follow their stomachs and find their pancake fortune out in the great big world." They meet Brimstone Bill, who keeps them in pancakes while they help him log the land. Along the way, of course, they manage to create the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. When they start to feel sick from eating too many pancakes, they head home to Mom, who feeds them good food while they help her grow "Bunyan-sized veggies." Luckhurst's gouache-on-paper artwork is bright and bold, and the text works well as a storytime read-aloud. As one would expect, the author takes the exaggerated and hyperbolic aspects of this tale and uses them to great effect. However, the book's page design is busy with unnecessary emphasis on sections of text, and this detracts from the depiction of Paul and Babe's scale and size; it can also make the text difficult to read, especially where it gets integrated into the art. While this tale might work as a fresh approach to promoting balanced diets, Steven Kellogg's Paul Bunyan (HarperCollins, 1985) remains the gold standard for introducing this larger-than-life character.—Laura Lutz, Pratt Institute, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
In this quirky take on the tall tale, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are obsessed with pancakes, but mother knows best when it comes to nutrition. Paul's mom cannot feed him and Babe enough pancakes. Throwing up her beater and spatula, she finally protests, "I have fields to tend." Paul and Babe try helping her, even though they refuse to eat the vegetables yielded. But they squish the plants with their big feet, so they are forced to leave home to seek their pancake fortune elsewhere. Cheerful gouache illustrations, which appear to be partly influenced by 1920s animated cartoons and contemporary street art, bounce with energy, driving the story forward as their adventures unfold. Paul and Babe are depicted with such bold, playful verve they could be restaurant mascots. The inclusion of colorful, hand-lettered text adds emphasis and acts as a balance to the art. In this somewhat slight retelling, their assistance clearing a logjam and the formation of both the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon are directly related to their quest to get their fill of pancakes. They succeed--and get sick, just like Mom predicted. The doctor confirms it: The cure is a balanced diet; so the two turn for home and Mom's healthy, homegrown food. Perhaps not a staple, but a light, fluffy read nonetheless. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419704208
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2012
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Matt Luckhurst, a descendant of Canadian loggers, is originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts MFA design program. This is his first picture book. He lives in Brooklyn.

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