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The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers

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Kids will delight in the tale of the terrible - but lovable - Hodag. With the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator, the Hodag stands forty feet tall, and its eyes glow like fire. Learn what happens when a group of animal catchers comes to capture this fierce creature and bring it to the zoo! This original tale, a Parents' Choice Gold Award winner, is perfectly turned for storytelling, with magnificent illustrations that evoke ...
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Kids will delight in the tale of the terrible - but lovable - Hodag. With the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator, the Hodag stands forty feet tall, and its eyes glow like fire. Learn what happens when a group of animal catchers comes to capture this fierce creature and bring it to the zoo! This original tale, a Parents' Choice Gold Award winner, is perfectly turned for storytelling, with magnificent illustrations that evoke storybooks from long ago.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A blueberry-eating monster's lumberjack friends devise clever strategies to protect him from capture in this tale inspired by a Wisconsin logging camp legend. Sandford's dramatic and often comical black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings abound with finely wrought patterns and resemble woodcuts in their precision. In the opening illustration of lumberjack Olee Swenson toppling a tree, for instance, the artist renders bark, flesh, grass, boots, pants, shirt and axe all in distinct, intricate line designs. A line of red text begins each page's passage, with the illustrations opposite framed by a thin black, occasionally permeable border. When the Hodag "swished his scaly tail from side to side, and, crash, the tree came tumbling down," both tail and pine needles escape the frame. Captions appear underneath each illustration: when the Hodag learns of a plot against him by some men outside the camp, his alarmed face fills the frame and the caption reads, " `Oh, no!' cried the Hodag." Lumberjacks wear fur-skinned caps, boots and suspenders; the Hodag catchers sport knickers, round spectacles and bowler hats. The artwork may initially frighten some younger children, though readers knows from the start that the Hodag is peaceful, and the Hodag catchers, hilariously ill equipped for their task, with a butterfly net and a small wooden crate with breathing holes, also seem unthreatening. This tale is more sweet than spinetingling. Ages 5-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The legendary Hodag is monster enough to bring a shiver to young readers. Forty feet tall, head of an ox, feet of a bear, etc., the Hodag's "terrible" appearance does not frighten lumberjacks, for he has helped them since the days of Olee Swenson. When hunters come to the forest to catch the Hodag for the zoo, Olee and the other lumberjacks warn him and help him to mislead them. Finally, they have the Hodag frighten the hunters into falling in the trap they have dug for him. The hunters then promise to leave him alone, so he can stay in the forest "where he belonged." Sandford's outstanding black-and-white scenes almost project the storyteller's voice as from an evening fireside. Vivid images of forest, lumberjacks, and above all, the Hodag himself, fill the pages. These are sculpture-like characters produced with varying textures and wood engraving sensibilities on full and double pages and in vignettes. The mythical creature, in particular, exudes the ambiguous aggressive gentleness of Sendak's Wild Things, while a trio of tentative hunters are properly comic with pith helmet and ridiculously inadequate butterfly net. There are added notes of interest from both author and illustrator. 2006, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Traditional Northwoods characters populate this original story. The gentle Hodag has the "head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator." In this adventure, Olee Swenson and his fellow lumberjacks must think of clever ways to save him from the animal catchers who have come to take him to the zoo. These strong, macho guys conscientiously consider the feelings of the Hodag and the inhumanity of putting a wild animal in captivity. In contrast, the city slickers are three times outsmarted and outmaneuvered by the lumberjacks and sent home empty-handed. The black-and-white prints, full and double-page, enhance the woodsy tale with a style that places the adventure at the turn of the 20th century. The animal catchers are stylishly dressed in vests and knickers, and topped off with pith helmets or bowlers. With their nets and other essentials for catching a wild animal, they have a slight resemblance to Teddy Roosevelt on safari. The lumberjacks, practically clad in boots and wooly hats, look right at home in the great outdoors. The monotone prints create good texture for both the hairy Hodag and the bearded woodsmen. This story will be enjoyed both as a read-aloud and a read-alone.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Arnold places upper-Midwestern tall-tale figures at the center of an original story about a group of loggers defending a friendly monster from a trio of inept collectors. The huge Hodag might have (as Arnold repeatedly notes) "the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur and tail of an alligator," but it's actually a mild-mannered creature with a fondness for blueberries. In consequence, when zookeepers arrive to capture it, logger Olee Swenson and his crew carefully misdirect them, helping the Hodag to muddle its trails to boot. Sandford illustrates with strong-lined black and white caricatures that look like wood engravings, portraying the Hodag as described (more or less-he never does get the glowing eyes quite right). The loggers are appropriately burly and the hunters are citified fools, who are-ultimately-tricked into falling into their own Hodag trap and are suddenly eager to promise to go away and never return. The telling is a bit stiff, but this Hodag, unlike the ones in older yarns and doctored photographs, seems more friendly than fearsome, and tales about it are rare enough that it may be new to young readers. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590781661
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Pages: 34
  • Sales rank: 1,420,797
  • Age range: 5 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: AD640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Caroline Arnold is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books for children, mostly in the category of nonfiction. She and photographer Richard Hewett have collaborated on the majority of her books. A part-time teacher in the Writer's Program at UCLA, Ms. Arnold lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cats.

John Sandford is the illustrator of a number of books, including Argyle, Down Buttermilk Lane , Moonstick, and The Seasons of the Sioux. He lives in Grand Haven, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    A reviewer

    I love this book!!! It is really good! Like her last one she wrote about the hodag (that one is no longer available). This woman is a really nice lady and writes really good books. The pictures are great when she came to my camp. If you want a heart filled books about the hodag, you should read this book. I hope there will be another one in the future and hope the other one that is no longer available will print agian. This is one of my favorite books!!!!! ENJOY!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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