HI YO, Maybelline! Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo
LEROY NINKER WORKED AT THE BIJOU DRIVE-IN THEATER CONCESSION STAND.
HE SAID, "THANK YOU VERY MUCH!"
HE SAID, "EXTRA BUTTER ON THAT?"
HE ALSO SAID "YIPPIE-I-OH."
Former toaster thief Leroy Ninker has gone straight, sublimating his love for toast dripping in butter by serving up extra-buttery popcorn at the local drive-in.
But Leroy has another mania, more powerful than his taste for toast.
Leroy longs to be a cowpoke. He has a ten-gallon hat that dwarfs his diminutive frame. He has cowboy boots on his feet and a coiled lasso at his belt. And on double-feature Wednesdays, Leroy is enthralled with those images of bigger-than-life cowboy heroes on the silver screen.
THE COWBOYS WERE MEN WHO CAST LONG SHADOWS AND KNEW HOW TO FIGHT INJUSTICE. THEY WERE MEN WHO WERE NEVER, EVER AFRAID.
"YIPPEE-I-OH." LEROY WHISPERED. "THAT'S THE LIFE FOR ME."
But Leroy is missing part of the complete cowpoke package--the cow horse.
With dreams of a spirited steed named Tornado, Leroy sets out, on foot of course, to find his mount. What he finds is Maybelline.
Maybelline has five teeth, a swayed back, and a lotta miles on her, but the old girl's got quite a few gallops left in her git-go. She comes cheap, but she comes with three stipulations from her former owner, Patty LaMarque.
"THERE ARE THREE ITEMS YOU GOT TO REMEMBER. ITEM ONE IS THAT MAYBELLINE IS THE KIND OF HORSE WHO ENJOYS THE HECK OUT OF A COMPLIMENT. YOU GOT TO SWEET TALK MAYBELLINE, UNDERSTAND?
>ITEM TWO IS THAT MAYBELLINE IS A HORSE WHO LIKES A LOT OF GRUB. A. LOT. OF. GRUB.
ITEM THREE IS THAT MAYBELLINE IS THE KIND OF HORSE WHO GETS LONESOME QUICK. DO NOT LEAVE MAYBELLINE ALONE FOR LONG, OR YOU WILL RUE AND REGRET THE DAY."
Leroy promises, but from his first giddy-up, he comes to realize that Patty's warnings were serious. Sweet talk comes easily to the snookered Leroy, but after he's cooked up all the spaghetti and tomato sauce in his house for one feeding, he realizes that Maybelline is like to eat him out of house and home, And when the well-fed Maybelline proves too large for the door to his tiny domicile, Leroy loyally beds down on the doorstep to keep his noble mount company all night. Yippie-i-oh.
But a torrential rainstorm unloads right over Leroy and Maybelline, and when the loyal Leroy dashes inside for an umbrella for his horse's head, Maybelline takes off for points unknown. Has Leroy lost his nag and his dream of riding the purple sage into the sunset?
Two-time Newbery author Kate DiCamillo works her wry wit and sweet literary magic again in her latest beginning chapter book, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One(Candlewick Press, 2014), a new title in her notable Mercy Watson series, Tales from Deckawoo Drive. Little Leroy is a delightfully positive character, devoted to his dream and determined to please his persnickety mount at all costs, Another spirited and humorous tale of the denizens of Deckawoo Drive in which a pig and an old nag share their thing for tea and buttery toast together, this new one has a lot of appeal to young readers, aided by the presence of Chris Van Dusen's wonderfully comic western-styled drawings and page decorations, a design which gives this cowpoke and cayuse tale tons of pizzazz for primary graders just venturing into chapter books. "Readers will have a hootenanny of a good time," says The Bulletin for Children's Books.
Watch for the next exciting entry from the Deckawoo Drive posse, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Two, forthcoming from the dynamic duo of DiCamillo and Dusen in August, 2015.