Is that not the best title ever? I originally posted this picture book review in February, 2005. I’m reposting it now because this book is no longer in print, and I want you to grab it if you ever spot it in a library sale. (I believe you can still get it through the author’s website, too, and there’s even a version on CD which includes other stories and music. Note to self: remember this at Christmastime.)
“Woolie!” she called out. “Where in the hickory stick is Grandma?”
“Dunno,” said Woolie. “It’s not my turn to look for Grandma!”
I’ve been reading this book to my kids for eight or nine eleven or twelve years, and it still makes us all giggle. April Halprin Wayland (author of another of our family favorites, the quiet and lovely To Rabbittown), depicts this quirky backwoods family with wit and warmth, and George Booth’s illustrations are a hoot. Ma, a hardworking backwoods mother, needs Grandma’s help and keeps sending the kids to fetch her—but Grandma’s too busy sliding down the haystack with her dirty old dog, or doing something similarly outlandish. She’s never too busy, however, for a banjo band…
The rollicking text is a joy to read aloud. The writing is fresh and lively, and the characters are pure originals—especially that dirty old dog and a pair of disreputable porcupines. George Booth’s art, which would be hilarious even without the words, captures them perfectly. If I had to narrow down our picture book collection to ten titles (horrific thought!), this one would make the cut for its never-fail ability to invoke the belly-laughs I love.
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Booknotes: The Mysterious Benedict Society