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The Littlest Grape Stomper (review)
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Reviewed by
Madison, Alan The Littlest Grape Stomper; illus. by Giselle Potter. Schwartz & Wade, 200732p Library ed. ISBN 0-375-93675-0$18.99 Trade ed. ISBN 0-375-83675-6$16.99 R 5-8 yrs

The village of Ear is famous for its delicious grape juice, so when Boss Nova Boombatz, C.E.O. of "all things grape," spots young Sixto Poblano's six-toed feet, he is bound and determined to get the boy stomping grapes for him. Sixto does in fact have a particular propensity ("because his spare toes made his feet so worldly wide, all the juicy grapes were now grape juicy"), which Boombatz is delighted to exploit despite the boy's repeated requests to go back to a life of playing kickball with his friends. In the end, Sixto pulls a fast one on Boombatz and drains forty days worth of grape juice from a gigantic vat, forming "the five Grape Lakes" and sending Boombatz swimming for the rest of his days. This unusual tall tale is a little overlong, with a lot of telling for its modest plot, but it is loaded with alliteration and playful language that make it a fine candidate for a boisterous readaloud. Sixto is as effective as a beloved hero as Boombatz is as an all-business and no-humanity villain type. Potter's characteristic illustrative style renders the fine citizens of Ear attractive and slightly fantastical, and while the children often look more like small [End Page 376] bodies with adult heads, there is great variety of expression. Fields of blue and green predominate the compositions, all perfectly juxtaposed with the juicy purples of the titular fruit. Young spectators will likely find it difficult getting past the hilarity of the front cover, which depicts Sixto in his underwear stomping a vat of grapes, but, really, what better outfit for such a sticky job?

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