by Anne Isaacs
illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
When Widow Tulip Jones of Greater Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas, and moves in with two trunks of tea, twelve pet tortoises, and three servants, hilarity ensues. The peaceful life suits the wealthy widow fine until word gets out and every unmarried man in Texas lines up to marry her. Widow Tulip and her small staff of three can't possibly run the farm and manage all the suitors, so she devises a plan—and it just might work. This story filled with giant tortoises, 1,000 brides, bad guys, a smart widow, and even a little romance is sure to get kids laughing.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I'm always a little bit leery of books that promise to be hilarious. When they turn out not to be funny, it's always a disappointment. Luckily, that wasn't the case here. This book is amusing and charming, and the illustrations only help add to the air of silliness around the premise—which is a really tall tale.
Tulip Jones inherits a ranch and goes to Texas. When she arrives, it's so hot that the lizards have to walk on stilts to protect their feet (that illustration alone is worth checking out the book for). Once word gets out that there is a millionaire living at By-Golly Gully, a thousand bachelors descend on the poor widow and her small staff of four. The various plans to get rid of the men are harmless and funny, and really should have worked... but it takes more than one try because, despite appearances, some of these men are smarter than they look.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty cute book. The quirky illustrations and tall-tale elements make it an amusing adventure.
"Girls, this is the last day you'll have to wash dishes for a thousand men," she told her ranch hands at breakfast. "I'm going to get rid of the suitors, for good!"
"Hooray!" shouted Linsey, Woolsey, and Calico.
"I'll give the suitors a task and promise to marry the man who succeeds," Widow Jones explained. "But it will be an impossible task," she added gleefully, "so everyone will fail!"
Recommended to: readers who aren't put off by exaggeration; fans of funny illustrations
Overall: 3.83 out of 5