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Smoky Mountain Rose


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About the Author

Alan Schroeder, a lifelong admirer of Louis Armstrong, is the award-winning author of several picture books, including Lily and the Wooden Bowl, Minty, and Carolina Shout. His first book, Ragtime Tumpie, was chosen as an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Children's Editors' Choice, and a Parents' Choice Award winner. He lives in Alameda, California.

Brad Sneed is an artist, illustrator, and author of books for young readers. His books include Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper and Lucky Russell, and he has illustrated numerous books for other authors. He lives in Kansas with his wife and daughter.


K-Gr 4‘Schroeder has taken the classic Perrault fairy tale and recast it "smack in the heart o' the Smoky Mountains." He begins his retelling with the directive, "Now lis'en," and continues to relate the familiar events in lilting mountain dialect with plenty of homespun humor. Seb, the love interest here, is a "real rich feller‘made his fortune in sowbellies and grits." Rose's transformation takes place through intervention of a kindhearted, articulate hog. The tale concludes, "To this day, Rose and Seb are still livin' there, and folks reckon they're `bout the happiest twosome in all o' Tarbelly Creek," giving the story a contemporary bent. Everyone knows what's going to happen, but getting there is half the fun. Sneed's slick, stylized watercolors seem at first to be out of sync with the down-home narrative, but it quickly becomes clear that the disparate union is a successful one. The paintings are realistically rendered but slightly distorted‘figures are elongated and angular, features exaggerated, and perspectives askew. People are clad in fashions of the 1940s and the lush Appalachian landscape is always in evidence. The fanciful, but decidedly quirky artwork effectively informs readers, in case they didn't already know it, that there's magic in them thar hills. An appealing all-American addition to the canon of "Cinderella" variants.‘Luann Toth, School Library Journal

Schroeder (Minty; Carolina Shout!) bases this "Appalachian Cinderella" on Perrault's well-known version, but his rollicking language could belong only to America's Smoky Mountains. "Now lis'en," begins the narrator, and what unfolds is a telling of the familiar story as fresh as a spring bluebonnet and as unexpected as its fairy godmother hog. The strong voice of the backwoods storyteller is loud and clear throughout: the wicked stepsisters are "so mean they'd steal flies from a blind spider," and when Seb ("this real rich feller‘made his fortune in sowbellies and grits") tries to put the glass slipper on the stepsister's huge foot, it is "like tryin' to stretch a li'l bitty sausage skin over a side o' beef." Sneed's (The Fly Flew In) sun-bleached watercolors feature exaggerated faces, angular forms and skewed, almost fish-eye lens perspectives‘the stepsisters, for example, have elongated limbs and enormous feet. Some children may have difficulty decoding the phonetic renderings of the dialect ("I reckon it's hard on ye, not havin' a ma... Would ye lak me to git hitched again?"), but if read aloud, this Cinderella will make readers "happy as a pig in a peanut patch." Ages 5-9. (May)

"Begs to be told or read out loud for sheer enjoyment and for enrichment in folklore studies". -- Booklist

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