THE CRYSTAL HEART

A VIETNAMESE LEGEND

High in her lonely tower, a mandarin’s daughter, Mi Nuong, gazes through a crescent window. A song floats up to her: “My love is like a blossom in the breeze. My love is like a moonbeam on the waves.” The girl is smitten. The song comes from a man gliding past the palace, rowing a fishing boat on the river. Her maid suggests it may be Mi Nuong’s intended, a mandarin’s son, in disguise. “Yes. Perhaps he is,” Mi Nuong murmurs, now really star-struck. But when it is revealed to her that the singer is only a poor fisherman, she laughs in his face. The fisherman, who had fallen in love with Mi Nuong at first sight, shrinks back to his humble cottage and dies, his heart having “turned hard to stop the pain.” It has also turned into a wondrous crystal that sits on the chest of his lifeless body, and the fisherman’s fellow villagers float it down the river to mingle with the ocean. It ends up on Mi Nuong’s beach, fashioned into a teacup, and when she goes to drink from it, she meets the fisherman’s eyes and realizes her folly. Her tears, falling into the cup, set his soul free. It is a keen tale of false expectations and confused priorities that Shepard (Master Maid, 1997, etc.) retells, where the power of a naive comment tips over into mortal cruelty. For his first picture book, Fiedler produces exquisite artwork; the landscapes are magically transporting, while the lustrous colors radiate an antique, spiritual quality. (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81551-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE DOG THAT DUG FOR DINOSAURS

This easy reader for children reading at the fluency level recounts the story of a girl named Mary Ann Anning and her dog, Tray. They lived on the coast of England in the early 1800s, although the time frame is given only as “a long, long time ago.” Mary Ann and Tray became famous for their discoveries of fossils, including dinosaur bones. They discovered the first pterodactyl found in England, and the name was assigned to their fossil. The story focuses a little too much on the dog, and the title misses a great opportunity to completely acknowledge a girl accomplishing something important in the scientific world, especially in a much earlier era and without formal training or education. Despite this drawback, both Mary Ann and Tray are appealing characters and the discovery of the fossils and subsequent notice from scientists, collectors, and even royalty is appealing and well written. Sullivan’s illustrations provide intriguing period details in costumes, tools, and buildings, as well as a clever front endpaper of fossil-strewn ground covered with muddy paw prints. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85708-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SPACE ROCKETS

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more