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Aunt Nancy and the Bothersome Visitors

Review

Aunt Nancy and the Bothersome Visitors

written by Phyllis Root, illustrated by David Parkins

Aunt Nancy is the kind of old woman who doesn't let a little misfortune get her down. What's more, she has a seemingly inexhaustible energy and "more brains than God gave a whole flock of geese." And she's going to need every bit of that know-how to deal with the four annoying houseguests who come knocking on her door in this collection of four tales.

There's Old Man Trouble, who giggles with delight when Aunt Nancy drops a glass on the floor or breaks a chair. There's Cousin Lazybones, who can't be bothered to collect a few eggs but sure has room for "twenty-two helpings of supper." Old Woeful, gloomily accompanied by her own personal rain cloud, warns Aunt Nancy that her delicious bimbleberry pie is just going to attract bears. And then there's Mister Death, whose clock is ticking and who might (or might not) show Aunt Nancy herself the door.

Phyllis Root's storytelling is inspired by classic trickster tales. In this case, though, the clever trickster who confounds even the most bothersome visitor is not a rabbit or a spider, but a resourceful old lady, inspired by Root's own "grandmothers and aunts --- women who never let the world get the better of them." Throw in some folksy language ("Never was nobody as tricksy as Aunt Nancy") and Ezekiel, one of the most well-developed feline characters in recent memory, and you have the winning recipe for a good old-fashioned story.

Two of Root's Aunt Nancy tales were previously published by Candlewick as stand-alone books. Reading several of the stories back to back, though, is even more fun. AUNT NANCY AND THE BOTHERSOME VISITORS works equally well as a read-aloud or as a chapter book for newly-independent readers. Liberally accompanied by David Parkins's detailed, winsomely expressive black silhouette drawings, Aunt Nancy's adventures, like the best folk tales, appeal to kids and adults alike. So pour a cup of tea, cut yourself a big slice of bimbleberry pie, and get ready to pay a call on Aunt Nancy.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on July 24, 2007

Aunt Nancy and the Bothersome Visitors
written by Phyllis Root, illustrated by David Parkins

  • Publication Date: July 24, 2007
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763630748
  • ISBN-13: 9780763630744