Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
This tall tale about sharpshooter Annie Oakley bounces comfortably between facts and fiction. While it is true that Oakley shot candles out with single bullets and defeated the Grand Duke Michael of Russia in a match, she never shot craters in the moon or the points off a star, as she does in this spirited yarn. Dadey (Dragons Don't Cook Pizza) describes shooting the star with gutsy exaggeration and a down-home lilt: "The explosion was so loud it caused the Snake River to flow backward and it shucked corn in fifteen states." First-time illustrator Goto's Wild West characters match the mood to a bull's-eye. Robotic and carnivalesque, they look as if they've stepped out of the sort of amusement park shooting gallery where a well-aimed shot animates mannequins and starts a player piano. The smiling, bug-eyed animals and hyper-animated faces of Annie and her adopted father Sitting Bull give the far-fetched tale a joyous, larger-than-life feel.Ages0508Pages32
>A vanishing traditional livelihood-ocean-diving sans oxygen tanks-could have been a sufficiently interesting topic on its own. But Bell and Brammer, each making a picture book debut, add further depths by exploring coming-of-age issues. Kiyomi's mother is an ama, a Japanese woman who dives deep into the ocean to harvest shellfish and seaweed. Kiyomi must choose either to overcome her fear of diving to become an ama, or to work in the city's canning factories like her more modern sisters. While the story, which covers several years, is at first diffuse, it conjoins elegantly with a subplot in which Kiyomi rescues a disoriented baby sea turtle who, like her, is tempted away from the sea by the bright lights of the paper lanterns in the village. Brammer's muted sunsets and seascapes, rendered in hazy, grainy oil wash and colored pencil, are equal players with the plot; it is impossible to think of the ocean as mere background in her images of the sea turtles dragging themselves out of the water to lay eggs, and of the white-clad ama, their faces covered with protective white cream, cooking dinner on the beach. Both author and illustrator make palpable how closely this arduous way of life links the "sea maidens" with their element.>Ages0509Pages32
>O frabjous day! Lewis (Riddle-icious) salutes Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear with this bouncy rhyme. As the tale opens, a tiny Mouse tempts his much larger friend, the Honeypot Bear, with word of the La-di-da Hare. Mouse convinces Bear to set sail for the Hare's home, a tropical paradise: "For what would a Hare or a Bear rather do/ Than admire the highland,/ The blue butterflyland, / The fabulous Island of Oh?" They dive into the ocean, and Commodore Mouse navigates the "S.S. Honeypot Bear" (really the bear himself) to Oh; they're warmly welcomed by the Hare, who treads lightly on "Q-Tip toes," flashes a ring of "2-carrot gold" and beckons them to stay. Lewis's seagoing romance introduces animal onlookers from a smiling crocodile to lobsters to a chorus of oysters (" 'Ack-ack!' a Blue-clawed Crab clacked back,/ 'Oi-oi!' the Oysters cried"). The author often varies his lively meter from page to page, but always keeps readers sing-songing merrily along. Bluthenthal (Matilda the Moocher) paints the beach environment in muted gouache hues; palm fronds and ferns frame the sandy scenery, and the ethereal La-di-da wears a green grass skirt and pink lei (in terms of attitude, she's the opposite of Carroll's flustered White Rabbit). Though not quite nonsensical itself, this unpredictable and spirited romp blithely echoes classic nonsense poetry.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This tall tale about sharpshooter Annie Oakley bounces comfortably between facts and fiction. While it is true that Oakley shot candles out with single bullets and defeated the Grand Duke Michael of Russia in a match, she never shot craters in the moon or the points off a star, as she does in this spirited yarn. Dadey (Dragons Don't Cook Pizza) describes shooting the star with gutsy exaggeration and a down-home lilt: "The explosion was so loud it caused the Snake River to flow backward and it shucked corn in fifteen states." First-time illustrator Goto's Wild West characters match the mood to a bull's-eye. Robotic and carnivalesque, they look as if they've stepped out of the sort of amusement park shooting gallery where a well-aimed shot animates mannequins and starts a player piano. The smiling, bug-eyed animals and hyper-animated faces of Annie and her adopted father Sitting Bull give the far-fetched tale a joyous, larger-than-life feel. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Lisa Phillips
Annie Oakley was destined to be a sharpshooter from the time she was a baby spitting bullets from her cradle. As a young child, she helped support her family by hunting game and selling the meat in town. By the time she was a young adult, she had out-shot a world famous marksman and was the star trick shooter in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. So goes this very, very tall tale (she even shot the point off a star!) of renowned sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Because the story is so greatly exaggerated, girls and boys alike, will find it riotous fun and fast paced. Reading a story about a female legendary figure is especially neat, since men are typically featured in these roles. Old West jargon and bold, expressive illustrations make the reader of this story want to yell "yee-haw" right along with Annie!
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4Annie Oakley is the subject of a number of biographies for early readers. This visually arresting story lifts her out of biography and into legend and tall tale. The folksy text and vibrant full-page illustrations, while remaining true to the facts of her life, exaggerate her remarkable skills and create a heroine as confident and brave as Anne Isaacs and Paul Zelinsky's wholly imaginary Swamp Angel (Dutton, 1994). From childhood, Oakley could spit bullets, hunt game, and shoot straight. She got hitched to the famous marksman Frank Butler, traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and won every contest with her unbelievable shooting skills. It took a wagonload of powder, but she even met Sitting Bull's challenge to knock the points off a star and hit the moon (three craters were added), making her the best shot in the whole universe. Still, she never forgot her poor and humble beginnings and, until she died and became a shooting star herself, she helped children in need. Goto's exuberant, energetic, and subtly comical illustrations are perfectly matched to Dadey's rollicking tongue-in-cheek tall tale. The final page contains "The Truth" about the life of this remarkable woman, but there is truth, too, in the legendary quality of Oakley's exploits. A great book for reading aloud or for introducing children to a colorful historic figure.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
A picture-book version of Annie Oakley's life that wavers between a fairly straight telling of the few known facts and tall-tale exaggerations that are both forced and silly.
As a baby, Annie is described as spitting bullets out of her cradle at the tin roof of the barn, frightening the cows so bad that Pa has to move the structure 15 miles down the road. A few years later, Annie hunts for food for the family, and pays off the farm debt after her father dies. Covered are her marriage to Frank Butler, her trip to Europe with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, her meeting Queen Victoria, her outshooting Grand Duke Michael of Russia, and her legendary generosity. Mixed into those events are the tall-tale yarns, when she shot craters in the moon and blasted the points off a distant star. It's a hybrid approach, leaving readers without a real sense of what a genuine star Annie was. In his first book, Goto's glossy paintings, technically proficient, follow the bent of the story and also straddle realism and cartoon buffoonery, with limited success. He makes a burlesque of the facial expressions of Annie's audience, whose uniform astonishment begins to look static.