THE WINDIGO'S RETURN

Wood (Northwoods Cradle Song, p. 302, etc.) has wisely chosen to adapt a Windigo tale that explains nature, rather than one that induces nightmares (the Windigo figures in north woods tales as everything from a monster to a symbol of men driven wild by the wilderness itself; tales about them make for classic ``ghost stories'' for around the campfire) for this book. When a band of Ojibwe notices that some hunters, then an old grandmother, have disappeared, the elders of the tribe are consulted. One of them recalls the story of the Windigo, who long ago caused people to vanish in a similar way. At the tribal council, the suggestion to trap the Windigo in a large pit seems the only solution. When the Windigo falls into the trap, the tribe finishes him off with fire. The Windigo's dying curse—to come back and eat the tribe and all future generations—seems to come true the following summer, when mosquitoes plague the tribe with bites. The changing seasons flow through this story like a slow river, linking the plot to nature's calendar. Couch's hazy style of illustration portrays the north woods as a setting where possibility always lurks in the mist, a perfect place for tales to grow. (pronunciation guide) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80065-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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