Something is eating the grain stored in Mrs. Runnery's granary, and only Granny Runnery can identify the culprits.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyNewbery Honor author Farmer (The Ear, the Eye and the Arm) here spins a medieval setting and a folktale-like aura into a winsome yarn. For years, the Runnerys' business has run like clockwork: Mrs. Runnery stores the farmers' grain in her stone granary, and Mr. Runnery's mill grinds it into flour. The family is puzzled when grain begins disappearing from the granary, and grows utterly perplexed when neither spiders nor cats can chase the mysterious intruders away. Toasting her toes by the fire, all-knowing Granny pinpoints the troublemakers as gnomes and offers a solution in frolicsome rhyme: "Get hiccups and honey and hair./ Get money and marbles and meat./ Go out to the woods in the moonlight./ And glue the whole mess to a sheet." Echoing the story's loose period setting and timeless good humor, Smith's (Matthew's Dragon) illustrations dovetail neatly with Farmer's text as both demonstrate how Granny's "gnome paper" captures the culprits. Rendered in watercolors and pencils, the full-page art portrays the Runnerys as a most ingratiating clan. And Smith's depiction of the greedy gnomes is just right: they're a wee bit scary, but not too much. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Jan LiebermanWhat can infiltrate a stone granary to eat the grain? Weevils? Rats? Wolves? Whatever it is terrifies the spiders, cats, all who try to help. Only Old Granny Runnery knows who it is in this fresh and original tale. Granny's hilarious solutions to catch the nasty culprits will tickle your funnybone. The art is as spirited as the story. Can hiccups, honey and hair really catch the culprit?
Children's Literature - Uma KrishnaswamiFarmer's original tale of the Runnerys, Mr. and Mrs., and their daughters Valery and Hillary, is funny and child-friendly, with just enough suspense to keep the pages turning. Smith's watercolor illustrations add warmth and character. Wizened Granny Runnery, curling her toes by the fire, is a joy to behold! Because, of course, it's Granny who solves the mystery of the strange happenings in the Runnery's granary. The text reads easily and the play on words makes it lots of fun to read aloud.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 2Grain is being stolen from Mrs. Runnery's granary. Neither spiders nor cats can end the pillage, for they are thwarted by the mysterious thieves. Granny, in her wisdom, says "gnome paper" is needed. Finally, the culprits are captured and set sailing down the river. When the sticky paper dissolves, the gnomes just march off to find another granary, but the Runnerys are never bothered again. Framed, carefully detailed pages feature a charming bucolic setting with thatched-roof cottages and characters in peasant dress. Boxes with the look of parchment paper hold the text. A charming tale that story-hour crowds are sure to eat up.Kathy East, Wood County District Public Library, OH
Carolyn PhelanMrs. Runnery finds that something is eating the grain in her granary. Thinking it may be weevils, she sets spiders out to catch them, only to return the next day and find the spiders' webs in shreds. Rats? She tries cats, without success. Finally, Granny Runnery names the problem: gnomes. Luckily, she knows how to get rid of them, too: sticky gnome paper. Smith's softly shaded artwork, created with colored pencils and watercolors, gives the story an attractive period setting, a cast of likable characters, and a variety of page compositions. Subtly washed of color, the moonlit scenes are quiet in their shades of gray, yet dramatic in gesture and content. Too colorful and comical-looking to be truly scary, the gnomes' appearance keeps the tone of the story light, although the creatures look a bit cartoonish compared with other elements in the illustrations. An unusual and entertaining picture book.
Kirkus ReviewsA charming fantasy from the author of the Newbery Honorwinning novel, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (1995). Night after night, grain disappears from the granary owned by Mrs. Runnery. Suspecting weevils, she imports spiders to gobble up the pests. But in the morning, she finds the spiders spooked and hanging from the ceiling. She tries cats, but they too wind up clinging to the ceiling by their claws. Finally, Granny Runnery announces the solution from her rocking chair by the fireplacea trap for gnomes! Smith, who must be making a specialty of fantastic creatures (he illustrated Nicholas Heller's Goblins in Green, 1995, etc.), has a field day with the pudgy, multicolored gnomes and brings warmth and dignity to the homier scenes. The ending may not be everyone's idea of a solutionthe gnomes are sent downstream to become another family's problembut readers can be certain that these appealing creatures will never come to harm. A lark.
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