Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yee Haw! A Rhyming Rendition

Written and illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman
Sterling Publishing, 2007
I really love to read a book that rhymes well, and rolls right off the tongue. Tex and Sugar does that, or I should say, Barbara Johansen Newman does that.
Writing about Tex: "his songs could put smiles on fields full of cattle and make an old rattlesnake give up her rattle."
Tex and Sugar are country cats, country cowboy cats, that is. These two singing country cats don't know each other, but they both move to the big city to seek fame and fortune. Unfortunately, neither achieves fame and fortune to begin with. Tex and Sugar try hard on their own, but find themselves washing dishes and working at the theater instead of performing on the big stage.
They find one another through fate--actually through singing on the balconies of their respective big city dwellings. And as luck would have it, these cute country cats sing their way into the honky-tonk hearts of the city dwellers.
The illustrations, also by Newman, are fabulous. In fact they draw the reader right into the book with the bright colors. The illustrations are full of texts within the illustrations. Even the signs on the subway are enticing. I think my favorite illustrations are those of the city skyline. I would love to have that spread hanging in my office. In fact, Newman offers that beautiful picture as a wallpaper for your computer on her website.
Newman has mastered the story through rhyme, which I hear is VERY difficult to do. It has that sing-song quality that makes me want to get up and dance.
It has also been nominated for the Cybils.

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