Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

By Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favourite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times bestselling Mercy Watson books.

Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse – until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline and a cast of familiar characters – Stella, Frank, Mrs Watson, and everyone’s favourite porcine wonder, Mercy – for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 5+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780763680121
  • Published: 03 Sep 2015
  • Price: £5.99
  • Size: 202 x 137 mm
  • Pages: 96

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Customer reviews


'DiCamillo … has always been at her best when dwelling on the good and the bad in relationships between humans and animals, and Van Dusen knows precisely how best to present Leroy to us.' The New York Times Book Review

'Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen strike gold again with this charming addition to the Mercy Watson story-verse. ... As with her Mercy Watson books, DiCamillo manages something extremely difficult in an early reader series--a delicious sense of language that is playful and poetic while also staying accessible and appropriate. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is full of immensely likable characters, unexpected plot twists and humor that will appeal equally to kids and adults. Chris Van Dusen's personality-filled illustrations perfectly complement the writing, making this a very enjoyable read-aloud.' Shelf Awareness (starred review)

'DiCamillo effortlessly slips back into the comfortable rhythms of Mercy’s world, infusing every chapter with subdued wit, warmth, and heart. Van Dusen matches the text stride-for-stride, delivering caricatured spot art and full-page scenes of the Pinocchioesque Leroy and the four-toothed, spaghetti-loving Maybelline, who Leroy comes to consider “the most splendiferous horse in all of creation.”' Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'DiCamillo’s quirky, eccentric characters speak in flowery sentiments and employ charming wordplay. Along with Van Dusen’s well-matched illustrations, there’s a sweet, retro innocence reminiscent of McCloskey’s classic "Homer Price." Despite the old-fashioned accent, the absurdities will easily appeal to a modern audience. Filled with love and kindness and glorious sweet-talk: “Yippee-i-oh.”' Kirkus Reviews

'Fans of Mercy Watson will delight in meeting Maybelline, a horse who loves to hear the melody of pretty words, likes the company of others, and enjoys spaghetti noodles. ... Van Dusen’s black-and-white cartoon pictures provide a lighthearted humor that makes the book a good choice for transitioning readers. Character driven, this fast-paced story is sure to please. A fun new edition to the cast and crew of “Mercy Watson.”' School Library Journal

'DiCamillo’s use of inventive and colorful language and Van Dusen’s stylized gouache illustrations make this story click; give this to graduates of the earlier series looking for a bit more of a challenge.' Booklist

'Spot art, full-page art, and double-page spreads with Van Dusen’s characteristic shiny-faced characters infuse the plot with extra energy and expression. Part cowboy story and part pet love story, this multi-layered tale beautifully balances comically exaggerated details and true spirit. Mercy Watson fans will enjoy being back in the saddle in this slightly more advanced spin-off.' The Horn Book

'Readers will have a hootenanny of a good time as this rookie cowboy learns to deal with these characteristics, and they’ll be especially pleased to find that the pair’s adventures (or misadventures) land them back on Deckawoo Drive meeting up with a few familiar faces from the Mercy Watson series, including that toast-loving pig. The text is lengthier here than in those books and the sentence structure more complicated, but there’s still the same skillful use of repetition, goofball humor, and easy accessibility. Mercy fans will be quick to cowboy up to this title.' Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

'Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo has incorporated characters from her popular Mercy Watson series into this charmer. ... Readers who love horses, cowboy fiction, DiCamillo, buttered toast, and the Mercy Watson series will enjoy this title.' Library Media Connection

'Fans of DiCamillo's popular Mercy Watson series, rejoice! ... Short, colorful sentences make this a surefire hit, either as a book for younger readers or a family read-aloud. Van Dusen's retro, hilarious caricatures are perfect.' Plain Dealer

'This transitional reader offers witty wordplay, a creative storyline, and endearing characters. ... DiCamillo’s brilliant use of descriptive language and character development coupled with a heartfelt message about friendship make this a must-have for the classroom.' Reading Today Online

'Colorful cowboy slang and silly caricatures multiply the laughs and together convey the 'yippie-i-oh' happiness at the heart of what becomes a love story.' The San Francisco Chronicle

'Unabashedly smile-inducing.' 100 Scope Notes (SLJ blog)

'Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen interview' 100 Scope Notes (SLJ blog)

'Featured in "BEA 2014: Children's Galleys to Grab"' Publishers Weekly

'Acquisition noted' Publishers Lunch

'Acquisition noted' Publishers Lunch

'Kate DiCamillo featured in 'Photo of the Day'' School Library Journal Online

'Featured/recommended' Reederama (blog)

'Kate DiCamillo featured in BEA photo roundup' PW Children's Bookshelf

'Kate DiCamillo / Voice of the Heartland feature' The Heartland Fall Forum

'Featured in Fall 2014 Preview article' School Library Journal

'Kate DiCamillo / Voice of the Heartland feature' PW Children's Bookshelf

'Featured/recommended in New Series roundup' School Library Journal

'Featured/recommended' A Book and a Hug (blog)

'Featured/recommended' St. Paul Pioneer Press

'Featured/recommended' eMissourian.com

'Featured/recommended' Maine Sunday Telegram

'Featured/recommended' Minneapolis Star-Tribune

'Kate DiCamillo interviewed' Minneapolis Star-Tribune

'Kate DiCamillo interviewed' National Endowment for the Arts blog

'Kate DiCamillo upcoming appearance mentioned' St. Louis Post-Dispatch

'Featured/recommended' Reading Eagle

'Featured/recommended' Great Kid Books (blog)

'Featured/recommended' The Center for Fiction

'Kate DiCamillo school visit feature' KDLT.com

'Kate DiCamillo photo featured as Picture of the Day' PW Daily

'Featured/recommended' Repository (syndicated from Kendal Rautzhan)

'Featured/recommended' Augusta Chronicle

'Featured/recommended' Mr. Schu Reads (blog)

'Featured/recommended' Broadway World

'Featured/recommended' School Library Journal

'Featured/recommended' Day (syndicated by Kendal Rautzhan)

'Featured/recommended' Knoxville News-Sentinel

'Featured/recommended, with an interview with Leroy Ninker' Little Crooked Cottage

'Bento box featured' Little Crooked Cottage (blog)

'Kate DiCamillo feature' St. Louis Post-Dispatch

'Featured/recommended in Halloween roundup' Emily Reviews (blog)

'Kate DiCamillo event feature' eMissourian.com

'Featured/recommended' A Year of Reading (blog)

'Featured/recommended in Halloween roundup' New Age Mama (blog)

'Featured/recommended' Mogul Baby (blog)

'Featured/recommended' Wisconsin Parent

'Featured in Best Books of 2014: Middle School and Beyond' Atlanta Parent Magazine

'Kate DiCamillo featured' Children's Corner (blog)

'Featured/recommended in children's books gift guide' San Francisco Chronicle

'Featured/recommended in event feature' Twin Cities

'Kate DiCamillo event feature' Citizen-Times

'Featured/recommended in " What's Selling at Water Street Bookstore"' Publishers Weekly

'Kate DiCamillo feature piece' The Washington Post

'Featured/recommended' The Mini Page (nationally syndicated)

'Featured/recommended' Nerdy Book Club (blog)

'Kate DiCamillo feature piece' Star Tribune

'Kate DiCamillo featured' St. Paul Pioneer Press

'Featured/recommended' The Record

'Kate DiCamillo featured' Bellingham Herald

'Kate DiCamillo interviewed' News Journal (syndicated from The Washington Post)

'Kate DiCamillo featured' Texarkana Gazette (from Star Tribune)

'Kate DiCamillo interviewed' Daily Reflector (from The Washington Post)

'Kate DiCamillo featured for role as National Summer Reading Champion' Shelf Awareness

'Kate DiCamillo featured' Star Tribune

'Kate DiCamillo featured' El Paso Times

'Kate DiCamillo featured' Free Lance-Star (syndicated from Minneapolis Star Tribune)

'Listed in Minnesota Book Awards roundup' St. Paul Pioneer Press

'Featured/recommended' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

'Kate DiCamillo interviewed' Times Herald-Record

'Chris Van Dusen interviewed' Maine Sunday Telegram

'Kate DiCamillo featured as National Ambassador' The Wichita Eagle

'Kate DiCamillo National Ambassador PSA feature' Shelf Awareness

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