McBroom and the Big Wind

Our rating: ***½

Josh McBroom is having trouble with a big wind that threatens to ruin his wonderful one acre farm that will grow anything (even his sons’ marbles). This isn’t just any old wind, though. This wind moves post holes, takes the milk bucket, and even sucks McBroom’s children up the chimney! What can he do to save his farm and his kids, and get rid of that bear jumping rope with the clothesline?

Once again, Sid Fleischman has written a story full of silliness that is just barely believable. I hardly scratched the surface of the goofy events that the story contains. Just try not to die laughing and you’ll be okay.

McBroom Tells the Truth

Our rating: ****

Josh McBroom, his dear wife Melissa, and their eleven children, Willjillhesterchesterpeterpollytimtommarylarryandlittleclarinda, all head West to find better farm land. On arriving in Iowa, they meet scrawny Hector Jones, who sells them eighty acres of land, not a tree stump on it, for ten dollars. The catch? When the McBrooms reach their new farm, it turns out to be a one acre pond that is eighty acres deep. Things seem to be going poorly for them, until one extremely hot summer day, when the pond dries up, and they find out that the soil underneath is so rich, anything will grow in it within a few minutes! Of course, neighbor Jones is not happy and will stop at nothing to get the farm back.

The story contained within McBroom Tells the Truth is good enough to keep everybody turning the pages. It’s a sort of picture book, in that there are pictures on every page, but the book runs almost fifty pages and takes quite awhile to read aloud. As you may have guessed, McBroom Tells the Truth is full of silliness and is most definitely a tall tale. Fleischman must have loved writing these, since there are many, many more books about McBroom and his wonderful one acre farm.

By the Great Horn Spoon!

Our rating: *****

Jack and his aunt’s butler Praiseworthy are stowaways on a ship headed for gold territory. They try to be honest stowaways and present themselves to the captain, who puts them to work tending the steam boiler. Captain Swain is not happy, as he is in a race with another steam ship, with heavy bets on both sides. And once they reach gold country, what will Praiseworthy do when he accidentally acquires a reputation as a fighter, and is challenged by The Mountain Ox, the roughest, toughest gold miner in California?

Sid Fleischman writes a good yarn, while making parts of it believable. Just about every page has some joke to it. Praiseworthy is a great mastermind, and Jack is always willing to go along. The ending may surprise you. There’s an interesting plot twist in there.