Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Barry Moser

The pair who collaborated on The Three Silly Billies is back with a twist on Aesop’s fable this time.  When fox can’t reach the grapes on his own, he asks bear to help.  Fox stands on bear’s head, but that doesn’t work either.  Beaver is added to the quest for the grapes, but his tail flip doesn’t help.  Porcupine arrives and joins the stack of animals to no avail.  All of the animals try to offer advice, but fox will have none of it.  Possum is finally added to the tip of fox’s nose, but that doesn’t work either.  In the end, the other animals are full of ideas of they alone could have gotten the grapes.  But fox is such a snit by that point that he marches off, leaving the others to enjoy the “lousy, rotten, stinkin’ grapes” without him.

Palatini’s tone is spot on.  The lumbering bear is written in a way that makes him a delight to read aloud, the voice bumbling along slowly.  Fox is frenzied, the other animals befuddled.  The juxtaposition of all of the voices is great fun to read aloud.  The writing is perfectly paced as well with each idea building on the next and the anticipation of success a great tension builder.  Moser’s illustrations are large and funny.  Fox being launched into the air again and again is a real hoot, as are the doubtful looks on the other animals’ faces. He uses white space with great effect to emphasize the distance between fox and grapes.

A read aloud with action, humor and animals!  What more could anyone want?  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.