A Western Wilderness of Words Turns into a Terrific Tall Tale

By Stephanie Morris

What does the flim-flam man, Dr. Ducknoise’s Dumb Drops, Smart Syrup, and the folks of Flapjack have to do with Gus? For one, they are all fun words that Maxine Rose Schur, the author of Gullible Gus, played with to develop the tongue-twisting, knee-slapping story of the most gullible man in all of Texas.

Maxine simply loves to play with words. That love is very evident in the way she assembled the story of Gullible Gus. Her word choices make this fun story a party of western terms and fanciful speaking. And the terrific tall tales she weaves are exaggerated hilariousness!

Her colorful characters are as fun as a corral of puppies; to name a few: Mr. Malarkey, Doc Hickory, Cantankerous Clem, Diamond Tooth Dudley, Sneering Sam, Mean-Minded Moe, and Backwards Hannah. All of them play a part in Doc’s cure for poor old Gus!

Maxine explained that her love for words stemmed from her dad, who “was a bit corny.” Add to that a fascination for tall tales, and this tarradiddle (defined as a petty lie or pretentious nonsense) of a tale was born. She wrote Gullible Gus around the time her son was born and felt like the time she spent writing while he slept was merely playing around.

But the Junior Library Guild didn’t think she was messing around at all because they awarded her the Gold Standard Selection Award for Gullible Gus. This proves it’s a safe bet for schools, libraries, as well as for children looking for a fun, easy-chapter book to read. It’s plum full of highfalutin’ western words and dipsy-doodlin’ illustrations!

Maxine had a wonderful time working with Andrew Glass, the illustrator. “When he makes people look stupid, it’s hilarious!” She loves the illustration of Gus with the bucket on his head and Backwards Hannah.

Maxine’s favorite parts of the story: the Movin’ on Medicine show where Dr. Ducknoise rattles off his list of medicines and where the folks of Flapjack get really stupid.

She is thrilled at how the book has been received and how the humor applies to different age levels. Maxine has high hopes that kids will read Gullible Gus and gain a desire to play with words, even going as far as to make up their own terms and create their own definitions. She feels that it’s important to “pay attention to the way words sound as well as to what they mean.” She also hopes this fun Texas romp through the desert provides a bridge for readers to further explore our history and the many tall tales that are part of it.

The best way to see what all this hootin’ and hollerin’ is about is to get your copy today! (No lollygagging!) You can order anywhere online books are sold! (And check out Maxine’s other wonderful books!) Purchase Here