A boy learns a lesson about the destructive power of gossip.
"K-Gr. 2. Was it only last month BKL O 15 03 that the first of Madonna's children's books, The English Roses, was reviewed? This second offering is an improvement, perhaps because the story isn't hers. The 300-year-old tale from Hassidic master Baal Shem Tov has a strong message, though Madonna's telling is amateurish. Set several decades back, it begins with Mr. Peabody congratulating his Little League team. They have lost, but they had fun! On his way home, he grabs an apple from the fruit market, and Tommy Tittlebottom notices that Peabody doesn't pay. One child tells another, and soon everyone thinks Mr. Peabody is a thief, not realizing that he's made prior arrangements. An apologetic Tommy visits Peabody, who instructs the boy to cut open a pillow and then gather the scattered feathers. Of course, it's an impossible task, just as it's impossible to undo the damage done by the rumors. The heavy-handed text is tempered by wonderful art reminiscent of Norman Rockwell's work, but exaggerated and more richly colored. Illustrator Long is the real find here. Two Madonna books down, three more to go. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Where Madonna's debut, The English Roses, examined judgmental English girls and a knowing mother's advice, this second book concerns an all-American boys' baseball team and its misunderstood coach, Mr. Peabody. (The author credits a story her Kabbalah teacher told her as inspiration for this tale.) After summer games in the small town of Happville, good-natured Mr. Peabody ambles home along a mid-century main street, "waving hello to everyone." He always stops at a sidewalk fruit stand, where he "would pick out the shiniest apple, drop it in his bag, and continue on his way." When baseball player Tommy Tittlebottom, whose name echoes the word "tattletale" (and a few other things), witnesses this ritual, he assumes that Mr. Peabody is stealing the apples. Soon all of Happville thinks the coach is a thief, and only a boy named Billy Little is brave enough to confront him. As it happens, Mr. Peabody pays for his apples in advance, and he teaches Tommy a lesson that recalls The English Roses ("Don't be so quick to judge a person") but the repercussions here are harsher. Long's lushly nostalgic gouaches, with their robin's-egg blue skies, bountiful golden farmlands and working men in straw hats and rolled sleeves, pay homage to the rural paintings of Thomas Hart Benton. The book design alludes to classic work by James Daugherty and Robert McCloskey, and features decorative drop caps, inset sepia illustrations and captioned, full-page color images of the earnest characters and retro setting. Readers may be less than charmed by Mr. Peabody's self-righteous streak but Long's art is worth watching. Ages 9-12. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
|| New York :Callaway :2003
Distributed in the U.S. by Viking Children's Books,
28 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm