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Nursery Crimes


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About the Author

Arthur Geisert's unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators', annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.


The little piggies in Geisert's (Oink Oink) latest porcine paean try to go to market, but are temporarily derailed in this clever caper of a picture book. French emigrants Jambo and Marva Jambonneau and their 12 piglets run a successful tree nursery in Ames, Iowa (an area famous for its nurseries), where they show off their talents as gifted topiarists and raise giant pumpkins. Each autumn, the pigs and their neighbors work overtime to meet local demand for trees trimmed into the shape of turkeys. But after the Jambonneaus put the finishing touches on their first batch of turkey trees, their masterpieces mysteriously disappear during the night. Family teamwork, Marva's quick thinking and the oversize squashes all play a part in discovering the thief just in time for a fine fall harvest sale. Geisert combines history, unique Midwestern color and fun in his simple yet snappy text. His intricate, evocative hand-colored etchings incorporate bits of bright and clunky salvage strewn about the nursery, adding character to the scenes. And his lush turkey topiaries would be a boon to any landscape. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 2-5-A story about Jambo and Marva, porcine pruners whose stock of giant topiary turkeys is stolen shortly before Thanksgiving. There's not much mystery as to the identity of the perpetrator. "It looked like Voler's work. He was always suspected when topiaries were missing-," but absolute proof of his guilt is hard to determine, as he has his own collection of topiary turkeys. That is, until the first frost causes the leaves to change color. The worthy protagonists' turkeys are readily distinguishable amid the stock at Voler's because the good pigs used deciduous trees, unlike the villain's evergreens. All this silliness is really just an excuse to showcase Geisert's delightful engravings that, in a departure from his usual work, are in full color. The illustrations depict the French pigs now living in Iowa at work in the tree nursery; at rest in their house fashioned from pieces of a caboose, a school bus, a church, and other architectural detritus; and on the trail of the miscreant. This is a truly unusual Thanksgiving offering.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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