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retold and illustrated by Teri Sloat
Dutton, op


School Library Journal: This hardy perennial of a storyteller's repertoire has its singsong back. The appeal of the story is its wonderful repetition and rhythm that can lure even the shyest listener into chanting along. The folksy, autumnal drawings create a mountainside settlement filled with cheerful rawboned people, curiously irritable animals and whimsical flora.

Booklist: The bountiful drawings, filled with the colors of autumn, have an exaggerated and rustic quality befitting a tale that has engaging humor, rhythm and repetition. Librarians will want to have this energetic picture book on hand for story times.

Publisher's Weekly: Sloat's version features detail-rich illustrations that fill every inch of space. The artist sets the mood with a cornucopia of autumnal colors against parchment, then frames the scenery with borders of lashed-together saplings. On the closing page there's even a biscuit recipe…

Kirkus: Sloat adds a few touches of her own and closes the book with a folksy recipe for baking soda biscuits…the illustrations capture the boisterous energy of the story.

About the Book

We have a cabin way up a hill in the Trinity Mountains in California, and until last year, there was a store at the bottom of the hill by the highway. The road from the cabin to the store was dirt, and if we forgot something we walked down the road and back up to get what we needed. We've seen bear tracks, bear droppings and trees that bears have scratched. So when I heard the story of Sody Sallyratus (baking soda) at a story-telling festival, I could see the pictures.

As happens in retellings, I added to the story and changed it just a little. The squirrel is the boss, and the bear gets away in the end. He doesn't explode. I also have him living in a berry patch, because that is where bears like to be.

Be sure to try the recipe for biscuits on the last page! I tried recipes that came from history books about eating on the wagon trains, as well as from fancier recipes from people living close enough to town to have good ingredients, and came up with the recipe as a combination. They are a little different than the biscuits that come from the Bisquick box, but they are so good with butter and honey.


© Teri Sloat 2006