Swamp Angel

Swamp Angel

4.0 2
by Anne Isaacs, Paul O. Zelinsky
     
 

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Caldecott artist Zelinsky puts oils to cherry and maple for this tall-tale competition between a Tennessee woodswoman extraordinaire and a hungry, fearsome bear. This debut of a promising new storyteller adds to the tall-tale tradition a pictorial counterpart that will entertain and endure for a long time to come. Full color.See more details below

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Overview

Caldecott artist Zelinsky puts oils to cherry and maple for this tall-tale competition between a Tennessee woodswoman extraordinaire and a hungry, fearsome bear. This debut of a promising new storyteller adds to the tall-tale tradition a pictorial counterpart that will entertain and endure for a long time to come. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Zelinsky's (Rumpelstiltskin) stunning American-primitive oil paintings, set against an unusual background of cherry, maple and birch veneers, frankly steal the show here. Their success, however, does not diminish the accomplishment of Isaacs, whose feisty tall tale marks an impressive picture-book debut. Her energy-charged narrative introduces Angelica Longrider. ``On August 1, 1815,'' Isaacs begins, ``when [she] took her first gulp of air on this earth, there was nothing about the baby to suggest that she would become the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. The newborn was scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help.... She was a full two years old before she built her first log cabin.'' The story continues in this casually overstated vein, explaining how Angelica got the appellation Swamp Angel at the age of 12 after rescuing a wagon train mired in the mud. But the larger-than-life girl's reputation grows to truly gargantuan proportions when she bests an even larger bear, throwing him up in the sky, where "he crashed into a pile of stars, making a lasting impression. You can still see him there, any clear night." This valiant heroine is certain to leave youngsters chuckling-and perhaps even keeping a close watch on the night sky. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Newborn Angelica Longrider, ``scarcely taller than her mother,'' was a ``full two years old before she built her first log cabin.'' Thus begins Isaacs's original tall tale, and she captures the cadence of the genre perfectly with its unique blend of understatement, exaggeration, and alliteration. Set in Tennessee, it is the story of a resourceful young woman who rescued wagon trains ``mired in Dejection Swamp.'' Now she has set her sights on saving settlers from an enormous black bear named Thundering Tarnation and beating the lineup of male competitors in the process. Zelinsky paints his primitive views of Americana with oil on veneer, a choice that gives each page a grainy border, well suited to this backwoods tale. A master of composition, he varies readers' perspectives by framing the portrait of the newborn and, later, the series of male hunters with small ovals. He uses double-page lunettes to depict the massive bear and woman sprawled across the pages, and places the menacing beast lunging over the frame in another memorable scene. The pictures and words cavort across the page in perfect synchronization, revealing the heroine's feisty solution. Buy for a great guffaw in small groups or one-on-one. It's an American classic in the making.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Hazel Rochman
Forget those images of angelic maidens, ethereal and demure. Angelica Longrider is the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. She can lasso a tornado. She can toss a bear into the sky so hard that it is still on the way up at nightfall. She snores like a locomotive in a thunderstorm. Isaacs tells her original story with the glorious exaggeration and uproarious farce of the traditional tall tale and with its typical laconic idiom--you just can't help reading it aloud. The heroine was nothing special as a newborn baby ("scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help . . . She was a full two years old before she built her first log cabin"). Zelinsky's detailed oil paintings in folk-art style are exquisite, framed in cherry, maple, and birch wood grains. They are also hilarious, making brilliant use of perspective to extend the mischief and the droll understatement. Sweetfaced Angelica wears a straw bonnet and a homespun dress, but she's a stalwart savior who comes tramping out of the mist on huge bare feet to lift a wagon train from Dejection Swamp. She is bent over in many of the pictures as if too tall to fit in the elegant oval frames. Pair this picture book with Lester and Pinkney's "John Henry" for a gigantic tall-tale celebration.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140559088
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/28/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
348,496
Product dimensions:
4.06(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.13(d)
Lexile:
AD1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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