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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  186 ratings  ·  64 reviews
When Widow Tulip Jones of Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas, and moves in with two trunks of tea, twelve pet tortoises, and three servants, hilarity ensues. The peaceful life suits the wealthy widow fine until word gets out and every unmarried man in Texas lines up to marry her. Widow Tulip and her small staff of three can't possibly run the farm and ...more
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

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Rebecca Honeycutt
A rollicking, visually charming tall tale. Since it's not meant to be realistic in the slightest, I'm not going to complain about the troubling emphasis on marriage in what is otherwise a rather empowering story about smart, determined women. And awesome giant tortoises.

Hawkes' artwork is the real selling point here: it's loaded with verve and saturated colors, and the big skies filled with puffy clouds add a wonderful sense of the wide open frontier. The boldness of the illustrations makes this
...more
Nicole
A fun, modern retelling of the part of Homer's Odyssey - where his wife has to trick a bunch of unwanted suitors into a series of impossible tasks in the hopes that she doesn't have to end up with any of them. In this version, an eccentric widow with a lot of money does the same with a band of unruly Texan suitors...
Amy Musser
In 1870 the widow Tulip Jones inherits millions of dollars and a ranch. So she moves from England to By-Golly Gully. She quickly learns that everything is bigger in Texas, including her garden vegetables and her beloved pet tortoises. But her blissful peace is broken when word gets around about her rich and unmarried status. Hilarity ensues as the widow comes up with a variety of ways to get rid of the 1,000 suitors that line up at her door. Exaggeration is the name of the game from text to illu ...more
Denis Vukosav
‘Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch’ written by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes is an interesting picture book for slightly older children, with the nice Illustrations showing vivid pictures of life in Texas.

The story main character is widow Tulip Jones of Bore from England who inherited a ranch in Texas. She will move in with lot of (I mean really lot of) tea, twelve pet tortoises which are named after the months of the year and her three servants Linsey, Woolsey, and Calico.
Widow Tulip w
...more
Sara Grochowski
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH is straight out of Texas, where, under the full penalty of the law, exaggeration is forbidden to every person (unless that person is an elected official or anyone who has ever ridden a horse), so the reader can take sometimes unbelievable tale as fact. It's 1870 When Tulip Jones, a widow from Greater Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas. She sets off to set up residence, armed with plenty of tea, twelve pet tortoises (named January, February, Marc ...more
Tamara
I really enjoyed reading this to my five-year old. It was funny and smart. I knew the moment he was introduced who the widow Jones would choose to marry, but I still really enjoyed reading it and seeing the impossible tasks she thought up to get rid of the suitors (and their clever ways of fulfilling them). Even thought there's a little bit of a love story going on, it's not a "girly" book. My son really enjoyed it, too.
Stella Fowler
How can you not love a picture book with the line, "Those Arroyos are so mean, dynamite would hide from them"? You can't, plain and simple.

In the tradition of Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch serves up American Storytelling on a tasty platter with blueberry scones and strawberry shortcake. The widow Jones is a marvelous character full of vim and vigor. It's no surprise when she moves to arid, desolate Texas and coaxes the land into growing humongous fruits and vegetables
...more
Nick
This picture book is loosely based on a combination of Texas tall tales and motifs from several folktales. The illustrations are really outstanding, and the story itself would be a lot of fun for kids of kindergarten age or older.
Everything grows bigger in Texas, from vegetables to tortoises. So it was that wealthy young woman Tulip Jones ended up with a strange ranch and too many suitors.
From there the story gets remarkably silly, as she tries to weed out the extra suitors by various tests and
...more
La Coccinelle
I'm always a little bit leery of books that promise to be hilarious. When they turn out not to be funny, it's always a disappointment. Luckily, that wasn't the case here. This book is amusing and charming, and the illustrations only help add to the air of silliness around the premise—which is a really tall tale.

Tulip Jones inherits a ranch and goes to Texas. When she arrives, it's so hot that the lizards have to walk on stilts to protect their feet (that illustration alone is worth checking out
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Melanie
When English Widow Tulip Jones learns that she has inherited $35 million and a ranch in Texas, she takes her pet tortoises and her household staff and board a steam ship. Once she arrives in By-Golly Texas she sets to work, proving that she and her household can and will make the ranch successful in such a hostile environment.

It doesn't take to long for the 100's of single cowboys in the town to begin to court the wealthy widow. However Widow Jones wants nothing to do with them. To try to get ri
...more
Becky
I loved, loved, loved this one. I did. It was WONDERFUL. It had me from hello, from the endpapers which read: "under full penalty of law, exaggeration is forbidden in the state of Texas. No Texan may decorate a plain fact--except if that person is an elected official, or anyone who has ever ridden a horse. In such cases, all exaggeration must be restricted to the first twenty-four hours past sunrise." From the very start, readers know this tall tale is going to be something special. And in tall ...more
Caryn Caldwell
When the widow Tulip Jones inherits thirty-five million dollars and a ranch in Texas, she takes off for her new land at once. Unfortunately, so do a thousand single men, all of whom want to marry this happily-unmarried lady for her fortune. What is Tulip to do? Why, present her would-be husbands with challenges they're sure to fail, of course. But when her impossible tests prove possible after all, and it looks like she might have to marry one of the two most awful men in the entirety of Texas, ...more
Lynne
What a hoot!!! I absolutely loved this story. One of my coworkers recommended this book to me telling me that it was humorous. It made me giggle out loud! A very wealthy widow moves to a ranch in Texas. When the single men in Texas, and they were all single, found out how rich she was, they came courting. What ensues is fun!
Rachel Watkins
I love tall tales and this entertaining story of a British widow who inherits a Texas ranch is a doozy. This is for the older child, think ages five to nine. Kevin Hawkes's illustrations do justice to Anne Issacs's storytelling. This is a delightful read.
Robin
This is a picture book with longer text that can be enjoyed by school age kids who have a sense of humor. This would be a good title for my granddaughter who lives in Texas since that's where this tall tale is set and wonderfully illustrated.
Barbara
Anyone who loves tall tales will find this picture book delightful with all of its exaggerations. When Tulip Jones inherits money and a ranch in Texas, she becomes the object of desire for many suitors bent on financial security. Since 1,000 men come by the ranch for tea, the widow hires a baker to provide sweets for the men. Observant readers will notice how the two of them form a bond while sharing a snack or two. Once she sets seemingly impossible tasks for the men who would be her husbands, ...more
Autumn
K picked this book up from his school library.

Even though I enjoyed the book I do not think K did. I didn't read the blurb when he brought the book home I just looked at the cover and was like oh wow giant tortoises how fun will this book be.
You have Widow Tulip who has a farm and the farm grows BIG things which I thought was awesome. But then in comes the talk about marriage, suitors are coming up to marry this Widow and she sets them on tasks which are pretty cool. K only thought the giant to
...more
Leanne

While parts of this book were delightfully funny and cute, I certainly would never read it to a child. The fact that it represents women as marriage-happy idiots who will travel from all around to marry someone they haven't met is baffling. I realize it's meant in a humorous manner, but these sorts of representations matter, especially at the age of a child who would be reading this. Even the strong widow at the end is married off. Their love story was at least appropriate. I wish it focused mor

...more
Melissa Mcavoy
A fun outrageous Texas spin on a tall tale. When Tulip Jones of Greater Bore, England inherits a Texas ranch she takes the frontier challenges in stride...except for her unanticipated suitor problem. Like Penelope before her she finds herself eaten out of house and home by an attentive pack, hoping to cash in on her fortune. So she sets them some impossible tasks, which turn out not to be so impossible after all. Fortunately she gets some help from her trusty staff which result in an over the to ...more
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School
When Tulip Jones inherited $35 million dollars and a Texas ranch she moved with her servants and pet tortoises to start a new life on the Texas plains. But women and wealthy widows are in high demand among the cowboys settling Texas and Tulip Jones soon found herself flooded with unwanted suitors. As Tulip works to rid herself of suitors, her servants hatch a plan to bring women to the Texas plains. As this tall tail spins itself as big as Texas, all ends well. The humor will bring a laugh of di ...more
Carol
Silly and funny and charming! You can see the end coming a mile away, but it is fun to read it play out anyhow.
Margie
With such titles as Swamp Angel (Dutton, 1994, Paul O. Zelinsky, illustrator, Caldecott Honor book), and Dust Devil (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010, Paul O. Zelinksy, illustrator) to her credit, Anne Isaacs has penned another book, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Schwartz & Wade Books) brimming with larger than life characters. With illustrations by Kevin Hawkes (Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, Westlandia by Paul Fleischman) readers can step into a Texas circa 1870. Of course, this won't be ...more
Julee
*Hyperbole; Texas themed
Very humorous tale of an English widow who inherits thirty-five million dollars and a Texas ranch. Tulip Jones decides to move to Texas with her twelve pet tortoises and three servants for ranch hands. When news of the rich widow spread through the land one thousand Texas suitors decended upon the ranch intent on marrying widow Jones. Through many high jinxs and catastropes, only one man is able to win her heart. I loved this story-typical of stretching the truth a bit Te
...more
Mrs. Knott
This book is a great example of a picture book that should be used with older children. This book is full of exaggerations and plays on words that older children will understand and appreciate that youngers won't. It's also a longer picture book and needs to have an audience that can stay with it.
The Widow Tulip Jones of England has recently inherited $35 million and a ranch in Texas. Off she goes and the hilarity starts when thousands of Texan bachelors come to win her hand in marriage.
The tex
...more
Lydia
Not to be confused with the Trinka Noble's classic Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, detailing the adventures of Rancher Hicks and his wife; Isaacs' story is about the Widow Tulip. The widow, living in England, receives an inheritance of money and land in Texas, so promptly moves there and is automatically of interest to all the un-married cowboys for miles around. So ensues her plans to rid herself of the unwanted suitors, raise giant tortoises, catch a gang of bad guys and just maybe find someone ...more
Meredith
I'm not a huge fan of tall tales. And I know this story is inspired by others, but I'm also not a huge fan of a wedding being the ultimate goal for a character. And finally, I'm very confused about what the gang ended up doing to avoid getting married ... was it just agreeing to go to jail?

Extra star for the nod to The Odyssey.
Marcie
Fun read aloud to talk about exaggeration in tall tales. Love the preface - perhaps because I just saw the Bush interviews. "Under full penalty of law, exaggeration is forbidden in the state of Texas. No Texan may decorate the plain fact - except if that person is an elected official..." Lots of great idioms to discuss.

Mary
This book is very long, but it is incredibly detailed and interesting for children with longer attention spans. It also has a lot of adult humor and references that make it a great read for grown-ups, as well. A wonderful wild-west tale with lots of twists and turns and, of course, a significant amount of exaggeration. :)
Cemeread
(3.5 stars)Everything is bigger in Texas! This picture book could be read to school age children as well as younger children who can handle a longer story. There is a touch of humor in this story of exaggeration about the widow Tulip Jones who needs to rid herself of the numerous suitors for marriage.
Read  Ribbet
Need a good mentor text for creating tall tales? Look at Anne Isaacs Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. A great book for helping kids notice how exaggeration is used as a literary element. There is sweet story connecting the scenes but a bit lengthy for a single read. Kevin Hawkes does the illustrating.
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