Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Review #1: THE BALLAD OF WILBUR AND THE MOOSE by John Stadler

We received this book as part of a trio won through the Random House Read and Play Newsletter. At first glance, I thought "Mmehh . . ." However, the kids wanted to read it right away, and it was quite popular with them for a couple of weeks. Then it fell between the bed and the wall and was forgotten. Recently re-discovered, it’s a hit all over again!

I thoroughly enjoy reading this book to my niece (“E” - 5 yo) and nephew (“J” – 8 yo) and even had some additional chuckles as I read it by myself for this review. Written as a campfire song, the balladeer, Whiskers, plucking along on his banjo, delivers the story in a simple but pleasant rhythm and rhyme. Wilbur and his moose pal, Alvin, travel the rugged West in search of pigs to herd because, as Wilbur says, “. . . there's lots of pigs there, And pig-herding’s the best!” For their part, the piggies are happy to join up with Wilbur because he offers them the chance to escape their thankless jobs, for which they have little talent, and instead enjoy the life they're meant to lead: “Of walking round and oinking, And eating like a slob.” Ah, simple though their dreams may be, a dark storm cloud appears in the form of a nefarious gambler and his henchmen pig-rustlers. But don’t worry, Wilbur knows just what to do!

The illustrations in this book are clear, colorful, subtly amusing, and particularly sly in the rustling scenes. Pay close attention to the details for another level of entertainment.

All in all, this book is highly recommended!

SYNOPSIS (from Barnes & Noble)

Meet Wilbur Little, a lime-juice drinking, pint-sized, sombreroed cowboy who herds pigs for a living. Wilbur tackles the villains he meets in the forms of pig-rustlers and gamblers, along with his loyal companion, Alvin (who happens to be a big blue moose), an off-key singing piglet, and a book-loving pig from Yuma. Their hilarious antics and pell-mell are the norm in a wacky western world where creative problemsolving is needed for good to triumph over evil.The Ballad of Wilbur and the Moose was originally published in a slightly different form in 1989 to wonderful acclaim by Publishers Weekly, People, and The New York Times Book Review Children’s Bookshelf. John Stadler recently located all of the original artwork (as well as creating one all-new spread) so that this publisher could bring this book back to the full glory it deserves.

Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Pub. Date: June 2008

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Robin Corey Books (June 10, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375841741
ISBN-13: 978-0375841743


shelburns said...

Yay! Isn't it great to have the first one under your belt? Great review! I haven't seen/heard of that title. What is the Random House Read and Play newsletter?

Wanda said...

At first glance I thought this one was another installment from Daniel Pinkwater ... your niece and nephew may also enjoy Once Upon a Blue Moose — my 8y.o. sure liked it!

Welcome to the book blog community, btw. :)