Readers who enjoy the thrill of a harrowing tale will be disappointed to find such a sugary-sweet Cucuy in this bilingual...

DO YOU KNOW THE CUCUY?/¿CONCOCES AL CUCUY?

In an attempt to allay children’s fears of the Cucuy, Galindo gives the bogeyman of Latin American lore a makeover.

Told by her Papo that the Cucuy is a monster who takes misbehaving children away, the young protagonist’s fears dissipate when she meets the real Cucuy, a “cute,” fuzzy blue creature whose “socks never match.” The two proceed to have a play date: skipping rope, climbing trees, dancing and indulging in candy and corn. Despite the life-like rendering and attention to perspective in Coombs’s illustrations, the realism diminishes Cucuy’s appeal as a playful, mythological creature. The sparse design also lacks compositional depth and cultural weight.

Readers who enjoy the thrill of a harrowing tale will be disappointed to find such a sugary-sweet Cucuy in this bilingual story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-55885-492-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Mia recognizes that she’s been given a special treat that doesn’t come to all children whose loved ones live far away, which...

LAST STOP ON THE REINDEER EXPRESS

Mia makes a Christmas card to send to her faraway grandfather, although she’s afraid it won’t reach him in time.

At the Christmas market with her mother, she finds a mysterious mailbox emblazoned with the words “The Reindeer Express” and “Turn knob three times to send parcel.” Mia steps through a door to a marvelously decorated room, where a cheerful woman directs her through another door. Mia finds herself in a magical, snowy forest. A reindeer whisks her away over a moonlit harbor, past a wondrous, sparkly city, and finally to Grandpa’s home in the mountains. Rare for picture books, Grandpa is on the youngish side, with the same red hair and white skin as Mia and her mother; Mia’s glasses are another welcome feature. Stepping back through the mailbox, she finds herself back in the market and that no time has elapsed. She and her mother return home to celebrate a joyful Christmas. Die-cut pages and lift-the-flap doors—some pleasingly challenging to find—creatively provide a sense of magic throughout. The book’s delightful, quiltlike design and geometric shapes allow readers’ eyes to move easily across the pages to spot hidden doors and windows. Fir trees and onion-domed buildings decorate the northern scenes, and endpapers include maps with an arctic feel.

Mia recognizes that she’s been given a special treat that doesn’t come to all children whose loved ones live far away, which makes this title especially resonant for readers in her circumstance. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7166-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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