Friday, May 16, 2014

The Sagebrush Singers by Herbert Kernecker; Illustrator: James Watts

This is a modern retelling of the German fairy tale "The Bremen Town Musicians.  I always like that tale but this one is even more special because it's set in the west.  From the looks of it, it could have been in New Mexico or Arizona.  

Humboldt American Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

When the burro is replaced by a four wheel drive vehicle, he gets bored and decides to head to town.  After all, he likes singing and the rancher always told him he was good enough to sing there.  As he begins his walk, he meets some animals along the way.  First he finds coyote.  When the coyote tells him people are shooting at him and it's not safe for him to hunt, he invites him along to his sing-along.  The next animal found is a skunk.  He's also down on his luck, so he joins the tour.  The last one to join is a dusty old raven who is getting old but can still use his voice.

They settle down for the night, but suddenly they see a light.  They're hoping the folks there will share some food with them (it's been a long walk), but as they get closer and look over the stock in the corral they notice the men are rustlers.  They're losing hope for food, but they still look in the window.  After seeing all the food and being ever so hungry, they stand on top of each other and sing for their dinner.  Unfortunately, they sing so strenuously, they fall through the window!

My favorite part of this story is when the frightened men send someone back to see what happened.  The animals attack him and he makes up this big story about what happened in his moment of terror.  It always makes me laugh!

Mr. Watts illustrations are perfect.  They look just like the west and add to the flavor of his revised tale.  You need to check out this story with the western touch!

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