A basic book to beef up a world-cultures collection.

THE SHADOW IN THE MOON

Two sisters learn there is more to their favorite Chinese holiday than feasting and moon-gazing.

The narrator is excited to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival feast with her family. As the family “comes together and becomes whole again,” they give thanks and make a wish for the coming year. The narrator’s favorite part of the dinner is dessert: mooncakes with flaky crusts and yummy fillings, red bean for little sister and lotus seed for her. Each mooncake is decorated with the image of a beautiful lady in long flowing robes. “Who is this lady?” the sisters wonder. Their grandmother tells them the ancient tale of the archer, Hou Yi, and his wife, Chang’e. A long, long time ago, Hou Yi shot down nine out of the 10 suns in the sky that were scorching the Earth. As a reward, the Heavenly Immortals gave him the potion of eternal life. Hou Yi kept the potion in a safe place, but a thief tried to steal it, and Chang’e made a very big sacrifice. After hearing this tale, the narrator gains a new appreciation for the holiday and her family and finally makes her wish to Chang’e. While the modern context presented for this popular Chinese festival is noteworthy, sadly, the story does not otherwise stand out from the crowd. Both text and illustrations are staid, summoning little of the drama of the legend or the warmth the frame should provide.

A basic book to beef up a world-cultures collection. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-746-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will...

HOW TO SCARE A GHOST

From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish continue their How to… series with this Halloween-themed title.

If you’ve ever had a hankering to scare a ghost, this handbook is what you need. In it, a pair of siblings shows readers “how to attract a ghost” (they like creepily carved pumpkins and glitter), identify a ghost (real ghosts “never, ever open doors”), and scare a ghost (making faces, telling scary stories). Also included is a warning not to go too far—a vacuum is over-the-top on the scary chart for ghosts. Once you’ve calmed your ghost again, it’s time to play (just not hide-and-seek or on a trampoline) and then decide on costumes for trick-or-treating. Your ghost will also need to learn Halloween etiquette (knocking instead of floating through doors). The title seems a little misleading considering only two spreads are dedicated to trying to scare a ghost, but the package as a whole is entertaining. Wildish’s digital cartoon illustrations are as bright as ever, and the brother and sister duo have especially expressive faces. Both are white-presenting, as are all the other characters except for some kids in the very last spread.

The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will be clean from all the vacuuming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0190-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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