Lucette Diana Kensack was raised by bears from the time she was eight-years-old until she grew too big to live with them in the den. The thing is, Lucette grew so big, she couldn’t live in anything regular-sized people lived in, either.
Paul Bunyan’s Sweetheart
Type: Juvenile fiction
Author: Marybeth Lorbiecki; Illustrator: Renee Graef
Publisher/Date: Sleeping Bear Press/2007
Her neighbors seem to like having Lucette and her enormous cow, Nel, around town. The over-sized maiden makes butter out of her pet’s river of cream, stitches together crop-field quilts and cools people off in hot weather by shaking out her rugs.
Paul Bunyan meets his match when he follows a delicious smell sent along a breeze created by Lucette as she makes a special treat. It is love at first sight for Paul and he gladly agrees to prove his love for Lucette by accomplishing three environmental tests.
Marybeth Lorbiecki tells the story about Paul Bunyan’s Sweetheart in true Tall-Tale fashion, complete with a couple “that’s-why-it-is-isms.” Avrielle Adams, a 10-year-old neighbor and expert summer-reader, liked the book. “I thought that the part where Lucette bops Paul on the head was pretty funny. I also think that it was very good that Lucette wanted a healthy environment and taught Paul to plant more trees where he chopped them down,” said Avrielle. Lorbiecki takes a traditional story style and freshens it with a positive message about the importance of good stewardship of our natural resources.
Renee Graef brings Lorbiecki’s words to life with her soft, colorful pictures that bring to mind Midwestern sunsets. I especially liked the pictures showing how Lucette’s cow got so big and the wedding scene where the bride holds a plus-sized “bouquet.” Avrielle liked the wedding picture too, because “Judge Edward Little is standing on a tree stump.”
Avrielle thinks Paul Bunyan’s Sweetheart would be best for five through eight-year-old readers. I’ll have to go with her expertise on this opinion.