Helen Ketteman Shoeshine Whittaker

ISBN 13: 9780802787149

Shoeshine Whittaker

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9780802787149: Shoeshine Whittaker
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The demanding people of Mudville test an ingenious shoeshine man. Shoeshine Whittaker thinks on his feet-and comes through in the end, in this illustrated tall-tale of the old West from the creators of Heat Wave.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Mudville is "one dirty town," so when a traveling shoeshine man arrives, he recognizes an opportunity to do some business. When Shoeshine Whittaker shines up the sheriff's shoes, the whole town wants the same treatment. The next day, everyone is angry because their shoes don't stay shiny. Shoeshine tries to make amends by scrubbing away all the dirt in town. His work backfires again, though, as the unusual glare coming from the newly shined surfaces hurts the townsfolk's eyes. He finally saves the day with a product called "duller" (mud from the town's own riverbank) that covers any unpleasant shines. Everyone is happy and the crafty businessman leaves with a tidy profit. Though the notion of selling mud to the citizens of Mudville is funny, the tale takes a while to build up momentum. The colorful Texas-style narration sets the tone nicely, injecting mild humor throughout. Goto's paintings are bold and imposing and capture the action with unusual perspectives. The illustrations of Shoeshine and the townsfolk are particularly effective, with exaggerated features that match the tall-tale setting. There aren't many pictures of the sheer muddiness of Mudville, though, so the contrast after Shoeshine cleans the town is less dramatic. The story works well enough, but it lacks the wild humor and plain outrageousness that can make a tall tale truly shine.
Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

PLB 0-8027-8715-0 It's muddy, and the people's shoes are cruddy, in Mudville, a state of affairs that suits Shoeshine Whittaker, itinerant buffer of footwear, just fine. His wagon rolls into the frontier town early one morning, he sets up his guaranteed-shine shop, and by evening he's a richer man, with a whole town of spit-polished beauty in his wake. The next morning he is rudely awakened by the sheriff; the citizenry's shoes are no longer as ``shiny as a mail-order mirror.'' Shoeshine points out that he didn't guarantee the shoes would stay sparkling, but must do some fast-thinking to keep the mob at bay. He puts his rags to the ultimate test, polishing up the whole town so as to keep his guarantee good; he dazzles the townfolk into a state of eyestrain, headaches, and a new wish for Shoeshine's hide. When he devises a shine-duller, the good old mud of Mudville, all returns to normal. Satisfaction guaranteed is a notion that Ketteman plays with to good comic effect. Goto's artwork lights a fire under the story's action, with mock high drama and midst-of-the-doings perspectives. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Helen Ketteman, Scott Goto (Illustrator)
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