Kirkus Reviews: “Rebecca Rule: ‘There’s No Messing Around'”
Rebecca Rule comes from “a long line of New Hampshire Yankees” and has spent much of her life collecting and telling stories from her home state and the wider New England region. Best known for her live humorous presentations, she’s recently realized a longtime ambition to write for children with her book The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever! illustrated by Jennifer Thermes. Here, Rule discusses their collaboration and the pleasure of writing her first children’s book.
As a storyteller, can you talk about the relationship between telling and writing your tales?
I’m very interested in Yankee culture…and love the humor in particular. For nearly 20 years, I’ve been traveling the state of New Hampshire telling the stories, and in the oral tradition, one story leads to another, so inevitably folks tell me stories. I learned to take a couple of notes in a little book when I hear these stories and within a few days, transcribe the notes into what I remember of the story. The best ones go into my blog, Travels with Becky. Some work best on the page; others I try out as told stories—to find out whether they work or not that way. Some I fall in love with and tell for years….others I let lapse. Every couple years I write a book—like Headin’ for the Rhubarb: A New Hampshire Dictionary (well, kinda) or Live Free and Eat Pie: A Storyteller’s Guide to New Hampshire. Many of these stories find homes in my books for adults. I’m like a quilter—I find ways to use all the little pieces, eventually.
Praise for The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest, Sled Ride Ever!”
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THE ICIEST, DICIEST, SCARIEST SLED RIDE EVER! [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Rule, Rebecca
Illustrator: Thermes, Jennifer
Review Issue Date: October 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: September 12, 2012
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.95
Publication Date: November 9, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-934031-88-9
Category: Picture Books
A young girl’s first-person narration brings a New England sled ride to life.
But this isn’t just any sled ride. Inspired by ice-crusted snow, Grampa Bud’s yarns of his childhood and a giant homemade double-runner sled, seven friends set out to conquer the “highest, mightiest, iciest sledding hill.” Rule lengthens out one sled run into an entire book, but its pace is not slow and clunky, nor does it drag. Instead, she marvels in the details along the way, building up the suspense. Comically, the children attempt to get themselves and the sled to the top of the hill, taking each other out like dominoes as they relentlessly and repeatedly slide down to form a pig pile at the bottom. When they finally manage it, Thermes beautifully conveys the awesomeness of the hill they have chosen to tackle; none of the kids will speak their fears aloud, though their faces say volumes. The trip down is accomplished in just a few spreads, a ride so fast that tears, fears, screams and laughter all get whipped, “like a beautiful scarf trailing wildly behind.” The watercolors give a wonderful array of viewpoints, showing the path of the sled run as well as close-ups of the children: fresh-faced and having the time of their lives.
Parents beware: Children are likely to scout out the highest hill to try to replicate this amazing run. (Picture book. 4-8)
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The Keene Sentinel
Review of Moved and Seconded by Steve Sherman
Rebecca Rule makes sure a cherished tradition in NH — the annual town meeting — gets a good pat on the back.
The NH native, writer and humorist has a talent for seeing the funnies of real life. But beyond the smiles and laughs, she has written a valuable book, drawing forth lots of “now isn’t that true?” and “Just typical, isn’t it?”
Moved and Seconded is a serious contribution to preserve a record of the authentic town meeting when it fades to memory only, and it also offers worthy reasons that it should not be voted out.