The Tale of Willie Monroe

3.57 avg rating
( 7 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780395698525: The Tale of Willie Monroe

Willie Monroe is sure he's the strongest critter in all of Tennessee-after all, his arms are big as stovepipes and his chest is broad as a barn door. He decides to enter a contest in Carolina just to prove it. Along the way, he meets an exceptionally strong li'l slip of a girl named Delilah and her ninety-nine-year-old granny, who can carry a full-grown horse on her shoulders. Compared to them, Willie is weak as water! It's only with their rigorous training that Willie is able to arm-wrestle, stack logs, milk cows, plow fields, and raise barns faster and better than anyone else, winning the contest as well as Delilah's hand in marriage. Humorous illustrations and an Appalachian spin on an ancient Japanese folktale make for a hilarious story about a young man put in his place by two strong women.

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About the Author:

Andrew Glass has written several books for children and has illustrated many. He lives in New York City with his wife.

Review:

Schroeder gives a Japanese folktale a real face-lift by staging it in a hillbilly-country setting. Instead of a Japanese wrestler out to win a contest, Schroeder's protagonist is "a real big feller named Willie Monroe"; and instead of three women coaching the wrestler, Schroeder substitutes a strong, old granny and her equally powerful granddaughter. The story is much longer than what's usual in picture books, though it is written with energy and phrased nicely for reading aloud. The length of the text may best suit slightly older children, who will surely be reminded of Paul Bunyan and be savvy enough to chortle at Schroeder's own text reference to the legendary lumberjack. Glass' sturdy, slapstick art fits the story nicely.
Booklist, ALA

In this Appalachian recasting of a Japanese folktale, Willie, who fancies himself the strongest man in Tennessee, sets off to participate in a contest on "arm-wrestlin', log-stackin', cow-milkin', field-plowin'," and other feats of strength. On the way he meets a girl named Delilah who traps him in an armhold when he tries to trick her. To his further embar-rassment, her ninety-nine-year-old Granny, who can rip a tree stump out of the ground and toss it up the mountainside, is even stronger. True to the story's original formula, the gals take a liking to the big brute and decide to strengthen him up with a series of physical tasks the likes of which would have made Hercules quail. By the time Willie is able to hammer down the roof of the henhouse using his fists to pound in the nails and can wrestle Granny to the ground-for about ten seconds-he's ready for the contest. He wins it handily, and returns to wed Delilah. (A man named Bunyan had earlier proposed to her, but Granny didn't think he was man enough.) The outrageousness of the situations and the corn-pone dialect are reflected in Andrew Glass's robust illustrations. Whether depicting a heavily-muscled Willie pinned under the arms of a slight but determined-looking Delilah or a large (and nervous) horse held up by an equally slight Granny, they are more than a match for the humor and exaggeration of the text. There's sure to be a ready audience for this tall tale, whether for story hours or for reading alone.
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Schroeder, Alan
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Alan Schroeder, Andrew Glass (Illustrator)
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