A young girl heads off into the woods with her adventure-loving Granddad for an autumn day of snake-hunting, captured in compelling oil paintings showing the reader just how close they are to their prize.
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One dark, autumn evening, Jesse cozies up to the fire as Granddad's tall tale of snake-wrestling falls like the gospel on her eager ears. The next day her grandmother proposes that "you two" go on a snake hunt for diversion--and for dinner ingredients (rattlesnake stew, Granddad has said, tastes "just like chicken"). Jesse musters enough moxie to match her grandfather's and follows him into the woods at his sure instruction. However, when a snake-like hissing sound issues forth, it is Granddad who jumps "higher and farther." The menacing noise proves to be merely the flapping wings of birds flushed from the meadow, but Granddad suggests "those ol' birds have scared away any snakes" and the two head home without dinner. It's left to the reader to determine if Granddad is a storyteller who likes to play games, or if his storytelling has inflated his notion of his own hunting prowess. Either way, Grandma, who has prepared a full-course meal ("just in case it rained"), is in on it, too. The mood of the narrative is similar to that of the more droll Hunting the White Cow (see above), but the art here is far more lush. These expressive oil paintings and comic side panels are among Kastner's best work ( Song for the Ancient Forest ; Night Owls ), and their theatricality is a counterpoint to the subtle humor of her words. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4-8. Gathering storm clouds and firelight eerily penetrating the darkened room exaggerate the danger in Granddad's tall tale about his having wrestled with a rattlesnake, bringing his victim home for snake stew. As the young narrator and her grandfather set off the next morning on their own snake hunt, Kastner's oil strokes on gessoed paper continue to contrast Granddad's humorous fantasies of the hunt with his granddaughter's cautious anticipation and apprehensions. The two hike through the woods hoping they'll find a snake for supper before the threatening rain douses their hunt. Suddenly, "SSSSssssthththth!!!!" The hunters spring back on the path, and hundreds of birds fly up out of the brush in fear of the rattlesnake, which is seen only by readers/viewers as it hides coiled by the very log where Granddad and the narrator sit to gather their senses after their fright. Returning home empty-handed through a summer storm, the hunters find a fried chicken dinner awaiting them, prepared by Grandma, "Just in case it rained." The amusing scenario puts an unusual spin on this warm and appealing intergenerational adventure. Ellen Mandel
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0027493954