Leroy Ninker Saddles Up
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Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press, August 26, 2014
Early chapter book, ISBN 978-0763663391

Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn't have is a horse—until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it's love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters— Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone's favorite porcine wonder, Mercy—for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.

Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo's New York Times best-selling Mercy Watson books.

Read the Reviews

DiCamillo effortlessly slips back into the comfortable rhythms of Mercy’s world, infusing every chapter with subdued wit, warmth, and heart. Van Dusen matches the text stride-for-stride, delivering caricatured spot art and full-page scenes of the Pinocchioesque Leroy and the four-toothed, spaghetti-loving Maybelline, who Leroy comes to consider "the most splendiferous horse in all of creation. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

DiCamillo’s quirky, eccentric characters speak in flowery sentiments and employ charming wordplay. Along with Van Dusen’s well-matched illustrations, there’s a sweet, retro innocence reminiscent of McCloskey’s classic Homer Price. Despite the old-fashioned accent, the absurdities will easily appeal to a modern audience. Filled with love and kindness and glorious sweet-talk: "Yippee-i-oh.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Fans of Mercy Watson will delight in meeting Maybelline, a horse who loves to hear the melody of pretty words, likes the company of others, and enjoys spaghetti noodles. … Van Dusen’s black-and-white cartoon pictures provide a lighthearted humor that makes the book a good choice for transitioning readers. Character driven, this fast-paced story is sure to please. A fun new edition to the cast and crew of Mercy Watson. (School Library Journal)

DiCamillo’s use of inventive and colorful language and Van Dusen’s stylized gouache illustrations make this story click; give this to graduates of the earlier series looking for a bit more of a challenge. (Booklist)

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