THE MOONBOW OF MR. B. BONES

The author of some deftly comical verse (A Hippopotamusn't, 1990) spins an allegorical tale about a mysterious old peddler- -whose wares include glass jars labeled ``Sundrops,'' ``Snowrays,'' and ``Moonbows''—and the skeptical young storyteller who convinces the other people in a little mountain town that Bartholomew Bones's ``secret weather bottles'' are as empty as they look. In the spirit of inquiry or mischief (or perhaps in competition with Bones's influence on his own audience), Tommy is the first to open a jar of Moonbows, apparently with no effect. Bones's once-eager customers drift away; Bones himself departs, never to return, but he stops in the gap to empty one last jar, leaving an extraordinary ``Moonbow'' that makes a convert of Tommy, whose scientific/poetic explanation of the ``strange white hoop of light'' concludes, ``the sky must be as clear as a glass jar.'' A note states that the moonbow is ``an actual natural phenomenon'' in Cumberland Falls, Kentucky. But Lewis's enigmatic tale, with its thematic blend of hope, belief, and the gift of story, is intriguing even without that scientific fact. In Zimmer's vigorously crosshatched illustrations, where cheerful color vies with the gap's night shadows, the characters are amusingly caricatured—and yet their eyes shine with deeper feeling. Skillfully crafted by all concerned: an entertaining book that resonates on several levels. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 10, 1992

ISBN: 0-394-85365-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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