Sixto Poblano really sticks out in a crowd. That's because he has six toes on each foot. And evil Boss Nova Boombatz, the head of all things grape, thinks Sixto has real potential. A boy with extra footage could really help him make grape juice! And so Sixto is whisked off to stomp . . . even though he'd rather play. Then one day, stomping inside a giant container, Sixto sees his chance to escape. He kicks out the barrel's cork, sending purply juice out in a flood, and freeing himself in the process. And that's how the Grape Lakes are formed!
In the vine-fringed, semicircular village of Ear, famous for its "scrumptious grape juice," lives Sixto Poblano, a boy so named for having six toes on each foot. Sixto frequently goes barefoot: "At the shoe store there was never a good fit, and when he ran he often tripped." On the plus side, he excels at kickball, and during a game his powerful tootsies come to the attention of a juice magnate. Boss Nova Boombatz, a shady guy with a pencil mustache and porkpie hat, recruits Sixto for harvest time: "We in Ear pick, pluck, and stomp that is our sworn duty," Boombatz says persuasively. Sixto reluctantly climbs into a wooden barrel of grapes and stomps "once, then twice, and because his spare toes made his feet so worldly wide, all the juicy grapes were now grape juicy." The other stompers are amazed: "Twostomps? Unheard of!" In florid prose, Madison (Pecorino's First Concert) elevates Sixto to legendary status, and details the downfall of taskmaster Boombatz. Potter (Sleeping Bobby), whose drily funny paintings emit a folklorish, Old World quality, may be the ideal illustrator for this book. She concentrates on Sixto's feet and pictures him up to his chest in grapes, wearing nothing but briefs, yet still implies his melancholic dignity. She brings a festive carnival air to the grape stomping rituals. The discomfiting combination of bare feet and "deeeliciousss!" grape juice only adds to the flavor of this tall tale. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.