Jul 14, 2011
Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble
Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by David Parkins
The day Old Man Trouble came to knock at Aunt Nancy's door, the spring dried up. Once she opened the door for him, the cat shot out and the door closed on his tail. "That's the kind of thing that happens when Old Man Trouble comes around." Aunt Nancy asks Old Man Trouble to come in and "stay a spell" and as soon as she puts the kettle on the fire, it goes out. When she blows on the coals, "all she gets is a face full of ashes." She can see that Old Man Trouble is grinning but she pretends not to notice and adds "Well, now, here's a blessing. The fire's gone out, and a good thing too, a hot day like this." Whatever she tries to do while Old Man Trouble is inside her home goes completely wrong, but Aunt Nancy flips it and makes it sound like it's going according to plan. Even when he makes the chair she's going to sit on break, she adds that it's just perfect since she needed kindling wood. This infuriates Old Man Trouble, especially when she adds "I just knowed it was my lucky day when I saw that spring dried up this morning. No more mud tracking up my floor." As Old Man Trouble, frustrated and defeated by clever Aunt Nancy, heads for the door, he restores the flowing waters to the spring thinking that will make her mad. Aunt Nancy smiles from her porch as Old Man Trouble heads down the road.
This is a great story. I loved the old woman being the trickster and outwitting Old Man Trouble. The illustrations are a great complement to the text and add a lot to the personalities of the two characters. I especially enjoyed Old Man Trouble's sinister overbite. Wonderful read aloud for the 3-5 grade crowd and a fun tale to read at home as well.