Title: Davy Crockett’s EarthquakeDavy-Crocketts-Earthquake
Author: William O. Steele
Illustrator: Nicolas
Pages: 64
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

From the author of Flaming Arrows and The Man with the Silver Eyes.

The Story.

They say that every man has his limits. Well, whoever said that must not a knowed Davy Crocket, the ripsnortin’, bear huntin’ wrasler from Tennessee. Because Davy can outshoot, outpunch, outtalk, outeverything everybody. And now, Davy’s decided that there’s a sight too many bears in West Tennessee and he figures on bringin’ in all those fine bearskins for himself. But that was before the mighty earthquake cracked open the ground right from under his feet and a blasted comet started chasin’ him…

Discussion.

Davy Crockett was a man know not only for his physical prowess and upright character, but also for the outrageous stories he told of himself. Davy Crockett’s Earthquake coincides with this tradition, presenting outrageous, larger than life tales as ‘truth’. Here’s an example.

One day Davy and his dogs were out hunting and they came to a canebrake. A big fat bear came waddling out. Davy raised his gun to shoot. But as soon as the bear saw Old Betsy it knew the end had come and skedaddled into the woods.

“Now, I won’t bother to chase that bear,” commented Davy. “I’ll not stretch my legs for a bear that ain’t willing to stand up and be shot proper.”

That bear was so scared it began to run in a big five mile circle around Davy. It passed him twice in an hour. Davy went on about his hunting.

But a week later Crockett and the dogs happened by the same place. And there was that fat bear running in the same circle. It had gone around so many times that it had worn a trench seven feet deep.

Davy could see the poor critter had lost all its fat and was no more than skin and bones.

“I’ll shoot that bear and put it out of its misery,” remarked Davy. “For it’s so scared it’ll never stop running.”

So he shot it next time around. And sure enough when he jumped down into the trench to bring up the bear, it was so poorly he could lift it with one hand. And the truth was it had starved to death three days beforehand. [pg. 26]

O.o Here’s another, shorter story.

 The next day Davy spied ten bears playing leapfrog in a ring. “I’ll just join the fun,” Davy told Rattler and Whirlwind. “And you two scout around for more bears.”

So Davy slipped into the ring and the bears paid him no heed, for the fact was Davy looked a little bit like a bear.

The game went on and Davy bent over with his hands on his knees and the bears went sailing over, one after another. When Davy’s turn came, he slipped his tomahawk from his belt. As he jumped over each bear, he gave it a wham on the head. When he’d gone around the circle, there lay ten dead bears.

“I expect they was tired of playing leapfrog anyhow,” Davy said. [pgs. 26-27]

Early on in his adventures, Davy meets up with the Eye-Gouger, a man whose overgrown thumbnail “could flip a man’s eyeball out of its socket quicker than a wink.” [pg. 19] The illustrations of this man are grotesque.

An illustration is provided of a comet, but instead of being a standard ball of fire, it has a horrible, hairy face with monster-like qualities.

Conclusion. Helpful in its similarities to the actual Crockett legends, but not really edifying.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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