ONCE UPON A COOL MOTORCYCLE DUDE

Young readers who have ever been forcibly yoked to a rival for some class project will glory in this contentious oral report. Unable to agree on a folktale to tell their classmates, a lad and lass decide to make it up as they go. She starts, with Princess Tenderheart—rendered by Heyer in flowing silk gowns and blonde tresses—pining for her beloved ponies, which are being stolen one by one by a giant. Gagging, the storyteller’s companion proceeds to add a huge dude who roars up on a chopper to provide protection, and to battle a giant that, in Goto’s testosterone-soaked oils, is green but far from jolly. Meanwhile, instead of passively sitting by spinning straw into gold, the Princess starts pumping iron . . . and on the tale seesaws, to a more or less happily-ever-after. The unusual collaboration among illustrators works seamlessly, with O’Malley supplying the storytellers, and Heyer and Goto the characters on separate pages or spreads. This disarming, funny and not agenda-driven dig at the hot-button issue of gender differences is likely to excite plenty of giggles—and perhaps some discussion, too. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8027-8947-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

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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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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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