Friday, June 15, 2012

Dust Devil

Isaacs, Anne. 2010. Dust Devil. Ill. by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books.  ISBN 978-0-375-96722-1

Dust Devil by Anne Isaacs is a tall tale and the follow up story to the Caldecott Honor Book Swamp Angel.  Angelica Longrider (aka Swamp Angel) has moved from Tennessee to Montana in order to have enough room to live because of her giant stature.  With a little landscaping by way of moving mountains, Montana is just about perfect until a giant dust storm comes along.  The dust storm is caused by Dust Devil, a Swamp Angel sized horse that once tamed helps Swamp Angel defeat a Backward Bart and his band of giant mosquito riding Flying Desperadoes. 

Isaacs received assistance from The American Folklife Center at the Library of  Congress in writing this book. As such, it conforms to traditional tall tale literary standards.  The characters are larger than life (literally) and are either very good or very bad.  The story elements are over the top and highly exageratted. 

The illustrations by Zelinsky were painted in oils on wood veneers.  This artistic technique perfectly fit the tall tale mold in that it is a style of folk art.  The colors were subdued to give a faded appearance making the artwork appear as if it was completed in the 1800's during the time the tale is set.

*A stunning tour de force and a satisfying continuation of Angel's saga - School Library Journal
*Starred Review- Booklist
*Starred Review- Kirkus

*Read other tall tales
*Include this selection as part of a larger unit on folklife (coordinating topics could include quilting, canning, square dancing, etc.)
*Discuss the role of a woman as the heroine
*Other tall tales:
Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tales by Souci

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