THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

A skeleton, not feeling content in his bare bones, sets out to find some clothes. Bones enters the house of a young boy, climbs the stairs to his room, rifles through his closet, and puts together an outfit from head to toe complete with bear-shaped bedroom slippers. Satisfied and with a thumbs-up farewell, Bones moves on to the next abode. Told in a humorous upbeat rhyme, the boy’s nighttime fears are tempered by the clothing needs of his bizarre nightmare character. Mixed-media cartoon-style art gives the boy a Dennis-the-Menace look and the skeleton an alien quality, his large, bulging, green eyes offset by the beige tones of his skeletal form. Background colors of midnight blues and contrasting greens round out the nocturnal bedroom scenes. Offbeat bedtime comforter. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-688-17738-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003

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UNDER THE RAMADAN MOON

This book for the very young adds to the growing number of books on Islamic fasts and feasts, but in its simplicity it doesn’t supply very much in the way of information. The text starts off rhythmically: “We wait for the moon / we watch for the moon / we watch for the Ramadan moon,” but make little sense when it states “We fast by day / under the moon…” and becomes downright pedestrian as “We speak kind words / and stop bad habits / under the moon.” The pastels lend a special softness and serenity, glowing with intensity when it is really night and the moon is shown in its different phases throughout the lunar month of Ramadan, and the people depicted show some of the diversity of the American Muslim community. Most young readers, however, won’t understand that the people in the book are living through a month of fasting each day, and even the author’s note doesn’t provide adults with enough details to expand upon the text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8304-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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Even given the paucity of books on Sukkot, this is one to skip.

THE VANISHING GOURDS

A SUKKOT MYSTERY

The Jewish fall harvest festival celebrated in a temporary hut known as a sukkah is the focus of this slight story about sharing.

Having carefully selected several gourds to hang from the sukkah roof as decorations, Sara and Avi are dismayed when the hard-shelled vegetables begin to fall, split open and are ravaged by the squirrels in their yard. Sara’s anger inspires a dream she has that night in which the offending squirrel emerges to apologize and promises to bring new gourds the following year. Once awake, Sara imagines squirrels shopping for gourds at the local market and acknowledges their hunger with a pile of nuts carefully placed on the sukkah table. As the holiday ends, Sara makes sure the squirrels are well-fed throughout the year. When Sukkot rolls around again, Sara begins to clean up the patch of grass for the sukkah and is surprised to find a number of gourds growing there, sprouted from the seeds left by the squirrels the previous year. This contrivance—gourd vines are hard to miss, and does this family never mow?—fatally weakens the conclusion, with its implicit lesson of sharing. A more creative and endearing version of this theme can be found in Jamie Korngold’s Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast (2011). Acrylic and graphite sketches in earthy tones add mild amusement to Sara’s infuriating dilemma, though they do nothing to mitigate the implausibility of Sara's discovery.

Even given the paucity of books on Sukkot, this is one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7503-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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