MOULDYLOCKS

A surprise birthday party for Mouldylocks the young witch deteriorates into amusing, wizardly warfare when her three adult hosts take to cheating at the games. Mouldylocks’s presents—a bat-in-a-box, talking boots (“Left!” chirps the right one; “Right!” responds the left), and a pop-up book of spells—come in handy after Crabby Ann, Wizard Twittle, and Mama Kano turn each other into small, icky creatures; using bat spit and other unsavory ingredients, she whips up an undoing spell, getting an enormous birthday cake as reward. Lodge’s illustrations have the look of woodcuts, with thick lines and evenly applied color; Mouldylocks, curly hair wriggling beneath pointed black hat like spinach linguini, makes an earnest foil for her mercurial friends. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-90945-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, GERALDINE

A shaggy-dog tale about the journey of the biggest Christmas tree on the lot to Geraldine's home. Brother Willie helps, but the evergreen still needs to be trimmed down considerably during their arduous trip, as friendly shopkeepers shorten the trunk and prune out the top to make the tree more portable. It's still too large for the living room; the top is bent over by the ceiling—a silly touch, but at least Geraldine can place the star on it without help. In guileless illustrations and text, Keller (Geraldine First, 1996, etc.) accurately targets toddlers' tastes, but among holiday tales, this one is more heart than plot, and may be overshadowed by flashier Santas, Grinches, and reindeers with red noses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-14500-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

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A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution.

NIGHT LIGHTS

A SUKKOT STORY

On the first night of Sukkot, Daniel is apprehensive about sleeping in the dark sukkah without a night light.

Older sister Naomi likes to show off her knowledge acquired in Hebrew school, so she tells Daniel all about the holiday. She explains how Jews remember the ancestors’ journey from Egypt, why the sukkah is built, and the reason for an open roof made of tree branches. Once the building and decorating of their sukkah is finished, Daniel’s quiet anxiety parallels Naomi’s eager excitement through the family’s outdoor dinner. At bedtime, the siblings create a makeshift sleeping area in a corner of the sukkah. In the dark, scary nighttime noises and shadowy images disturb Daniel to the point where he begins to go inside. But to his surprise, Naomi, who has a touch of the heebie-jeebies herself, encourages him to stay and look up through the branches of the sukkah’s open roof. He sees a sky full of stars, or “night lights,” as they glowed for the ancestors thousands of years ago. Soft paintings provide a contemporary view of a White Jewish family with some parallel historical scenes of the forbearers making their way through the desert. The interwoven explanation of the holiday within the context of the story is enhanced with an afterword that references today’s refugees, who must live under precarious circumstances in temporary shelters.

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-547-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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