There’s nothing like the unexpected arrival of a millionaire widow to spur a stampede of Texas cowboys.
In this terrific tall tale from the author of Swamp Angel (1994) and Dust Devil (2010), it looks like just about everyone is the marrying kind when a rich Englishwoman shows up: “Soon every unmarried man in Texas hoped to marry Tulip Jones—and in 1870, every man in Texas was unmarried.” One thousand suitors mean thousands of teatime pastries to fix, so Tulip hires Charlie Doughpuncher to help out. Day and night, the kind baker is there to comfort (and feed scones to) her suitored-out self. Desperate for some peace, Tulip finally concocts several challenges to clear out the gold-digging cowboys, from reversing the flow of the Rio Grande to collecting a pail of stars. But when her plan works, she’s all alone. Or is she? Lively storytelling in colorful, drawn-out sentences, Texas-style, makes for a splendid—albeit lengthy—read-aloud. Hawkes’ extra-charming soft-focus acrylic-and–colored-pencil artwork on textured paper suits the cactus-filled desert landscape to a T-for-Texas, and the caricatured faces of the snaggletoothed, bewhiskered, beyond-scruffy suitors are downright hilarious.
True love is no tall tale in this delightfully overblown story of a plucky widow, a herd of greedy cowboys and a Texas summer so hot the chickens lay hard-boiled eggs. (Picture book. 5-8)