Friday, April 30, 2010

Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff

It's not often you have a story where a snake is the protagonist, but in Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff, we have such a snake. Nothing much ever happens in Dustpan, Texas so when a smart and kind rattlesnake winds his way into town, it creates a "hullabaloo". I'm all for any book that uses "hullabaloo", "brouhaha", "hubbub", or "ruckus". The rattler impresses the menfolk at the feed store by tying itself in different knots. The Dustpan Ladies' Sewing Circle appreciates the rattlesnake displaying his diamond shapes so they can stitch this pattern into their quilts and bloomers. He is also a hit with the children in the schoolyard. Unfortunately, it will take more than this to get the sheriff to trust Diamond Jim Dandy. It's not until a near disaster is averted that the sheriff recognizes the worth of this friendly critter. 

Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff, written by Sarah Burell and illustrated by Bryan Langdo, is a fun read with a quite subtle (my favorite) message about acceptance and not judging too quickly. How the snake gains acceptance is clever writing on Burrell's part and Langdo's illustrations add more humor to the text. This would be a good text for teaching problem/solution or questioning (Why does the sheriff not like the snake?).

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