Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Little Britches and the Rattlers

Little Britches and the Rattlers
By Eric A. Kimmel; Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen
Marshall Cavendish, 2008. Unpaged. Picture Book
The Little Black Sambo story goes Out West in this story of Little Britches, a cowgirl on her way to the rodeo to compete in the calf-roping contest runs afoul of a nest of rattlers. Each of the snakes threatens to "s-s-swaller you up" so she trades her hat, gloves, and even her red boots embossed with a map of Texas for the chance to go on. When she is down to her long johns and bandanna she gives up and heads back home, but a wild hissing from a dry waterhole leads her to the snakes who are chasing each other fangs to tails until they swaller each other up and are gone. Vincent Nguyen's muted earthtones are a perfect fit for Little Britches' commonsense ways and the Western landscape, though when the text has LB galloping to the rodeo, her horse is pictured in a stately pace. Still, this is a fun take on the old tale, and Little Britches wins first prize!

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