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Describes the challenges of settling the West, including the humor of pioneering mishaps.
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This live recording of Mooney's one-man show presents sketches drawn from the roots of American humor. Opening with accounts of the Mississippi River, which hosts a parade of Americana, Mooney sets the scene for what follows. His exceptional skills as a storyteller are evident in his ability to slide effortlessly from the sophistication of Washington, D.C., to the professional activities of an early sanitary engineer, as he creates lively and believable characters. Mooney is as comfortable with a Downeast twang and language rhythms as he is with a colorful pitchman's spiel. Adults and young adults who enjoy humor with a historical perspective will appreciate this audiobook. R.M. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom School Library Journal:
Grade 8 Up?Half Horse, Half Alligator is a collection of ten tales from storyteller Bill Mooney, each concerning a character present in a saloon on a Mississippi riverboat in the mid-1800's. Mooney describes this setting and some of the characters aboard in his opening. The "half horse, half alligator" refers to one of the many types of colorful characters one might encounter on the boat. Mooney tells the stories of ten men. In "Jack Dowling's First Visit to Portland," a young man from rural Maine goes out on his own to make his way in the big city. Mooney affects a wonderful Maine accent and captures the droll humor of that region. In "Tennessee Frolic," he captures the tall tale tradition of the eastern part of the state, telling the story of hard drinking, fun loving folks who live for dancing and getting into trouble. "Erasive Soap Man" features a fast talking huckster hawking his wares to a crowd. "The Dog Who Paid Cash," one of the funniest stories, is about a dog who pretends to perform the trick of letting people put a coin on his nose, flipping it up into the air and swallowing it. What he actually does is hide the coin in his mouth and, when he has amassed a substantial amount, spends it at the butcher shop or saloon. In "A Message to the Pope," another funny tale, Pete is so thrilled that the railroad has finally reached Tucson that he wants to share the news with the world and decides to start with the Pope. "The Specialist" is about a champion privy builder. Recorded live, these stories are brief and range from amusing to hilarious. Mooney's exaggerated, lively storytelling is engaging. One suspects from the audience responses that Mooney's facial expressions and other physical gestures are a missing dimension that would make these stories all the more appealing. This is an entertaining example of some masterful storytelling. Teachers who want to introduce the art of storytelling to middle or high school students will want to use Mooney as an example.?Edward T. Sullivan, New York Public Library, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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