The Adventures of Granny Clearwater & Little Critter

32p. 978-0-80507-899-2.
Gr 1—3—When the Clearwaters start their journey west in a covered wagon, a mishap separates Granny and her grandson Little Critter from the others. They travel across the scorching-hot prairie in an effort to find their missing family members. When they grow thirsty, Granny performs a rain dance "taught to her by her grandpappy with itchy feet." They eat fried prickly pear cooked over mesquite. They eventually reach a lake where Granny teaches Little Critter how to fish. The two travelers continue on and reach a mountain that they have to cross. They come upon a wanted poster for Rose Rogers, a stagecoach robber and bad poet. Two days later, Granny and Little Critter met up with him, but he's no match for Granny, who lassoes the villain with her stockings (all 17 pairs) and claims a big reward. When they eventually arrive in California, Granny uses a special panning technique to find gold and they are reunited with their family. This is a wonderful tall tale, told with plenty of humor and enhanced by colorful collage illustrations. The back of the book contains information briefly describing the Western migration, the California gold rush, stagecoach robberies, and other tidbits for readers who might be interested in the period, perhaps even inspiring further research. A rip-roaring yarn.—Donna Atmur, Los Angeles Public Library
While the Clearwater family is heading West, Granny and "Little Critter" are thrown from the wagon and must find their way back, surviving by Granny's wits. Employing tongue-in-cheek Western twang and vocabulary, Holt seems more interested in introducing readers to a time and place in America's past than in telling a story--a problem offset somewhat by the tall-tale-teasing art.

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