Picks and Pans Review: Thunderbolt at Catfish Bend

UPDATED 07/30/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/30/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Ben Lucien Burman

For those who know the earlier stories of Burman's fanciful land along the Mississippi, it need only be noted that this new installment has been published. The tradition of this kind of folk tale might have vanished altogether if Burman, who is 88, wasn't keeping it alive—and lively as ever. This is story-telling at some primitive, soul-satisfying level, fast-paced and basic. In Thunderbolt a raccoon tells how he and the other old critters in Catfish Bend are made to feel unwelcome by the younger generation. So, the raccoon, along with a fox, bloodhound, rabbit, frog and a snake that is called Judge Black and that constantly mangles old sayings, set out for Australia. The kangaroos are friendly enough, but the Catfish travelers get into trouble with ants and then with the dogs who look after the sheep. The Catfish Benders flee to India, where they have another series of adventures with angry cobras and a lion with an inferiority complex. Burman borrows shamelessly from classic legends and uses all the clichés we've ever heard about life in Australia and India. The combination is irresistible. This is the sort of prose that cries out to be read aloud, especially to someone who is about four feet tall or shorter. (Wieser & Wieser, $10.95)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters