Tales from Gizzard's Grill


This book includes Three Western tales,
Complete with Sheriff, ...

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This book includes Three Western tales,
Complete with Sheriff, Hard as nails,
A Lonesome Cowboy, Thief, and Horse,
Conniption fits, Despair, remorse;
Two broken hearts, Miss Lou-Lou, and
Miss Lou-Lou's paw,
A snake-oil man;
A Dreadful Stranger Bustin' in,
A duel that smells
As vile as sin,
At Gizzard's Grill.
And for dessert
A slab of lemon pie Don't hurt.

Presents three tall tales from the Old West town of Fiasco, where the lady sheriff keeps the peace and friends, old and new, enjoy the treats at Gizzard's Grill.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This mock-epic Western, told in rhyming text as long as the noonday sun is high, chronicles events in the dusty town of Fiasco. In three tales, loners amble into the local hangout, Gizzard's Grill, and forge unlikely friendships. "The Lonesome Cowboy" tells how a mustachioed stranger unnerves the Sheriff, a fierce woman known by her six-shooter and scarlet ten-gallon hat. "You see this badge I'm wearin'?/ It ain't just foofaraw./ For in old Fiasco town, my boy,/ I represent the Law," she warns. But the newcomer gains her respect by baking biscuits and nabbing a horse thief, who turns out to be a nice guy, too. "Miss Lou-Lou" introduces a snake-oil salesman and his daughter, who's an ace with the dowsing rod when the well goes dry. "The Duel" presents a smelly feller who enters the Grill with a roar ("he sounded wild as ten wet cats") and challenges the townsfolk to a stinky-feet contest. Turner (Otto's Trunk) provides technical line drawings in pencil against sun-baked, sandstone-colored backgrounds. His brainy but remote cartoons complement the text's peculiarity but convey little warmth. Steig (A Gift from Zeus) composes drawling, quirky four-line stanzas, recalling both the Ancient Mariner and the Jabberwock. She experiments with storytelling style, but unfortunately the meandering verses and uninviting visuals may test readers' patience. All ages. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Get ready to laugh! This charming book contains three Western stories all written in light verse. First, a lonesome cowboy arrives in town and saves the day by knowing just where the thief is hiding. Then, Miss Lou-Lou finds water for a town stricken with the drought. However, the best story is tucked at the end. Little Myrna thinks she has the worst smelling feet until The Stranger arrives in town with his smelly feet. The two feet duel and the end will be a surprise! The verse is playful and fun. However, at times the use of abbreviated words makes the reader stumble. A fun to book to read aloud, but younger readers should be cautioned due to the use of words such as ain't and other abbreviated slang words. 2004, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 10.
—Mindy Hardwick
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-The Old West surfaces again in three light, verse tales from the cow town of Fiasco. Rhyming quatrains recount the adventures of a stable full of stock Western characters: a deceptively hard-boiled Law-woman ("I seem a tough old sheriff,/Two-fisted, coarse, and hard;/But beneath it all-you guessed it, boys-I'm soft as melted lard"); a lonesome cowboy; a repentant horse thief; a father/daughter traveling medicine show; a heartbroken waitress; and a stranger who loses a stinky-foot duel to ancient Myrna Poke. The tall-tale elements and gentle, preposterously tidy conclusions provide some of the fun. It's the language, however, that lends the most zip. Colorful cowpoke turns of phrase pepper the text, reinforcing character types and spicing up somewhat meandering story lines. Laid out cleanly on white pages, the text is frequently accompanied by pencil line drawings in a vaguely post-modern cartoon style. Spare, with intriguing features such as dashed lines indicating motion and direction, the art-in a sandy beige and orange desert palette-cannily incorporates details from the narrative. The slightly grotesque, long-headed figures and minimalist style heighten the silliness and tall-tale effects. A fun read-aloud, if your drawl's in working order, but not a must purchase.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In three rhymed Old West tales, Steig casts a tough-talking but motherly Sheriff and a crew of wanderers who settle into unlikely occupations. First, to the town of Fiasco come a Lonesome Cowboy and a repentant horse thief, who open a bakery together. Then a patent medicine salesman turns resident music teacher after his daughter dowses a new well for the stricken town. And in the wake of a stinky foot duel-"Point blank their feet were aimin', / Right at each other's nose, / And they yowled and gasped and each turned green, / And blue, and puce, and rose"-a blustering stranger pairs off with a (perhaps literally) crusty old lady as town exterminators. Steig's previous titles carried her late husband's distinctive illustrations; here, she's found an apt successor in Turner, who presents oddball, minimalist sketches of figures with character-actor faces beneath big, colorful hats, against beige backgrounds. The smelly-foot trope is a perennial crowd-pleaser, but adults may be won over more easily than child readers by these ballads. (Poetry. 8+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060009595
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/4/2004
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Steig is the author of several books of light verse and prose, including Alpha Beta Chowder; A Handful of Beans, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; and A Gift from Zeus: Sixteen Favorite Myths, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book. Ms. Steig is also a self-taught visual artist, working almost exclusively in street finds and other discarded materials. She lives with her husband, William Steig, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sandy Turner collects junk. Sandy Turner has a dog. Sandy Turner's five foot eight, got brown eyes, and is the author of three books: Grow Up, Otto's Trunk, and Silent Night. Sandy Turner won a prize for silent night, the Ragazzi Award in Italy. He didn't win the Turner Prize. Sandy Turner says, "Only real artists win that."

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