The Adventures of Granny Clearwater and Little Critter

Overview

The Clearwater family is heading west in their covered wagon. But when Granny and Little Critter are accidentally thrown from the back, they are suddenly on their own. Full of determination and armed with a taste for adventure, the plucky pair set out to find the rest of the Clearwater clan. On the way, they catch an infamous thief, deliver mail on a pony express, and pan for gold—to name just a few of Granny and Little Critter’s daring feats. Set in the Wild West circa 1800s, here's a larger-than-life story ...

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Overview

The Clearwater family is heading west in their covered wagon. But when Granny and Little Critter are accidentally thrown from the back, they are suddenly on their own. Full of determination and armed with a taste for adventure, the plucky pair set out to find the rest of the Clearwater clan. On the way, they catch an infamous thief, deliver mail on a pony express, and pan for gold—to name just a few of Granny and Little Critter’s daring feats. Set in the Wild West circa 1800s, here's a larger-than-life story about a fearsome duo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Whoo-hoo for this rollicking ride!” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

“This is a wonderful tall tale, told with plenty of humor and enhanced by colorful collage illustrations.” —School Library Journal

“Part tall tale, part history lesson, Holt’s latest picture-book adventure features lots of homespun humor and playful language.” —BCCB

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
The Clearwater family decides to head West, but their journey soon hits an unexpected bump—quite literally! The jolt is "so rough that Granny and Little Critter shot out of the wagon like cannonballs [and] ... flew through the sky for almost a mile until they landed stuck in a prickly pear cactus." So begins this outlandish, spirited tall tale of perseverance, luck, and family. Separated from the rest of the family, the determined duo heads west themselves, because "sooner or later we're bound to find them." They do, but oh! the adventures they have along the way! From catching trout big enough to ride to capturing a nefarious stagecoach robber and bad poet with a stocking-lasso, to delivering mail as Pony Express riders to panning for gold, this imaginative tale gets bigger and bigger until Granny and Little Critter are finally reunited with the rest of the Clearwater clan. The value of family is reinforced throughout the tale, as Granny calls on skills she has learned from a host of relatives (e.g., a grandfather's rain dancing, her aunt's house-building, her uncle's gold-panning) and shares them with Little Critter. Young readers will fall in love with this unusual Granny! Illustrator Huliska-Beith's artwork, created with "fabric scraps, stitchery, paper, acrylics, and computer collage" is the perfect complement to this farcical story. Budding young artists will want to get their hands into a scrap basket and get creative, too; use this book as inspiration and encourage them! Includes brief author's notes about Holt's inspirations for this tale, namely western migration, the Gold Rush, stagecoach robberies, peanut brittle, house raising, and the Pony Express. Recommended for sharing at home or in the classroom. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—When the Clearwaters start their journey west in a covered wagon, a mishap separates Granny and her grandson Little Critter from the others. They travel across the scorching-hot prairie in an effort to find their missing family members. When they grow thirsty, Granny performs a rain dance "taught to her by her grandpappy with itchy feet." They eat fried prickly pear cooked over mesquite. They eventually reach a lake where Granny teaches Little Critter how to fish. The two travelers continue on and reach a mountain that they have to cross. They come upon a wanted poster for Rose Rogers, a stagecoach robber and bad poet. Two days later, Granny and Little Critter met up with him, but he's no match for Granny, who lassoes the villain with her stockings (all 17 pairs) and claims a big reward. When they eventually arrive in California, Granny uses a special panning technique to find gold and they are reunited with their family. This is a wonderful tall tale, told with plenty of humor and enhanced by colorful collage illustrations. The back of the book contains information briefly describing the Western migration, the California gold rush, stagecoach robberies, and other tidbits for readers who might be interested in the period, perhaps even inspiring further research. A rip-roaring yarn.—Donna Atmur, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

Granny and her pajama-clad grandson's adventures begin in true tall-tale fashion when the two bounce out of a covered wagon and into a prickly pear cactus on the family's journey west. The wagon goes on without them, and Granny, with Little Critter at her side, draws on skills she's learned from her grandparents, parents and various aunts and uncles (all featured in a gallery at the book's end) to keep them alive and well. She catches a giant fish, lassoes and captures bad poet/stagecoach robber Rose Rogers, rides a fast pony to California with the mail, successfully pans for gold and, once reunited with geographically impaired Pa and the rest of the family, builds a house and plays a banjo to celebrate. Huliska-Beith's collages, which feature fabric, stitchery, paper, acrylic and digital elements, are as lively, exaggerated and full of jokes as the drawling, tongue-in cheek text, extending it with word art, boxes and sidebars. An author's note provides facts relating to the story. Whoo-hoo for this rollicking ride! (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805078992
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,387,660
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.

 

Laura Huliska-Beith wrote and illustrated The Book of Bad Ideas, and illustrated The Worst Best Friend and The Recess Queen. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

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