Julius Lester Ackamarackus

ISBN 13: 9780590489133

Ackamarackus

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9780590489133: Ackamarackus
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A read-aloud collection of tall tales provides a cast of animal characters facing unusual situations--such as an eagle who is afraid of heights--and the necessary steps they take to overcome their predicaments.

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Review:

What can we learn from a lazy lion, or an eagle who's afraid to fly, or an angry ant who eats an anaconda? Plenty, if Newbery Honor author Julius Lester (To Be a Slave) has any say in the matter. In these six highly alliterative fables, Lester creates some of the silliest critters ever to have walked (or flown or swum) this earth. Adalbert the alligator, for example, decides one day that he's fed up with the heat in his swamp. ("It was so hot the frogs had to watch a National Geographic special to remember how to hop. It was so hot mosquitoes drank lemonade.") So Adalbert, after much ado and bartering with the birds for directions, moves to Vermont, where he is startled to discover what happens when the seasons change, but pleased to meet Bertice, a bear who doesn't seem to care that Adalbert is an alligator, and allows him to hibernate and hang out with her. "Since neither of them knew they weren't supposed to be doing what they were doing, they continued doing what they weren't supposed to be doing, and probably still are." The morals of this story are: (1) You are what you think you are and not what others think you aren't, and (2) When you're in Vermont, watch out for the alligator. Imagine five more equally absurd yet strangely wise and definitely wonderful fables and there you have it: Ackamarackus. Emilie Chollat's acrylic and collage illustrations are sheer, brilliant delight. (Ages 5 to 9) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly:

Puns and alliteration abound in Lester's (To Be a Slave; Sam and the Tigers) roundup of six zany, zippy tales. The author introduces some cockeyed characters, among them a bee who falls in love with a balalaika-playing girl bee and learns to play the bongos after he loses his buzz ("A bee without a buzz would be a used-to-be bee who was now a been"), a lion whose wives find a way to cash in on his laziness and an alligator who beats the Florida heat by moving to Vermont. An inventive counterpoint to Aesop's approach, Lester's fables conclude with a pair of morals some entirely absurd, some with a tinge of truth listed under the heading, "Which proves two things" (the bee tale, for instance, concludes with: "1. Always be all that you can bee./ 2. Why buzz when you can balalaika?"). French artist Chollat reinforces the farce and folly of the narrative in her boldly hued acrylics and collage illustrations. For "The Flies Learn to Fly," she pictures the students at fly school dressed in gingham, polka-dot and plaid fabric swatches; cutout letters function as the equivalent of thought balloons. The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "ackamarackus" appears on the back cover, which reads in part, "A `tall' story, a hackneyed tale, nonsense, malarkey." Which proves two things: 1. This book is most appropriately titled; and 2. This is Lester at his most preposterous and playful. Ages 4-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Lester, Julius
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