MELANIE

Melanie is blind. When her grandfather tells her of a healer who may be able to restore her sight, she begs to go to him. Instead, the grandfather undertakes the difficult journey alone- -beyond a great forest and across a bridge, below which lives a troll who turns wayfarers into gulls and keeps their gold—to fetch the healer, and doesn't come back. Melanie sets out to find him, negotiating the forest with the help of an elk, and unaffected by the troll's magic because she can't see him. The troll pulls her off the bridge, he drowns, she lives, and the gulls change back into people, one of whom is her grandfather. There is no healer, after all, but Melanie is content. Carrick (Whaling Days, 1993, etc.) includes all the elements of a good fairy tale except timing: There is too much labored description and too little plot, with most of the action condensed into a few paragraphs. Dianov's watercolors are framed in baroque swirls and packed with tactile details. Everything from the knobs on Melanie's spinning wheel to the troll's red shoelaces house is in sharp, bright focus—everything, that is, but the story. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-66555-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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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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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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