Friday, August 13, 2004
Avalanche Annie: A Not-So-Tall Tale
Wheeler, Lisa. 2003. AVALANCHE ANNIE: A NOT-SO-TALL TALE. Ill. by Kurt Cyrus. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 0152167358 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Annie Halfpint’s exploits wrangling a runaway avalanche are nothing short of legendary. As she leads the participants of the annual snowshoe race up the mountain, Annie’s sweet but booming voice sets off a powerful snow slide. As the angry avalanche roars to life, Annie comes to the rescue in true Paul Bunyan style. She attacks the monster from all sides, finally lassoing it into submission. The townsfolk cheer for their new hero and give her a new nickname.
Wheeler keeps the excitement high in this rhyming story through excellent use of rich verbs. For example, the ferocity of the avalanche is dramatically clear. “It bucked her like a bronco! It mauled her like a bear! It flipped her like a spatula – she flapjacked through the air!” Cyrus’s bright illustrations keep the story in perpetual motion through swirling lines and whirling colors. With its female hero and thrilling action, this adventure will appeal to a wide range of readers.
A minor twist at the end is that the narrator is actually Annie Halfpint’s husband. He is depicted as a minor character in almost every illustrated scene. Young children will enjoy going back to reexamine all the pictures and discovering his role in the story.
Have children read and compare this story to other tall tales and legends with female heroes.
Other stories by Lisa Wheeler that rhyme:
SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA. ISBN 0689842198
SIXTEEN COWS. ISBN 0152026762
WOOL GATHERING: A SHEEP FAMILY REUNION. ISBN 0689843690
Other tall-tales with female heroes:
Isaacs, Anne. SWAMP ANGEL. ISBN 0525452710
Kellogg, Steven. SALLY ANN THUNDER ANN WHIRLWIND CROCKETT: A TALL TALE. ISBN 0688140424
Williams, Suzanne. LIBRARY LIL. ISBN 0803716982
By Amy D. Picard