A pleasing children’s narrative with a relevant message.

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MR. MOON

In Cobb’s latest children’s book, the moon, envious of a world he never gets to experience, makes an unusual proposition.

Mr. Moon is tired of missing out on things. While he sleeps, the world comes alive under the shining gaze of Mr. Sun. Children play, flowers blossom and people happily go about their business. Saddened by this, Mr. Moon decides to stay awake one entire day and join Mr. Sun on his journey across the sky. The jovial Mr. Sun is sympathetic toward the poor moon’s feelings, but he makes a cogent point: While he, the sun, is asleep, the moon enjoys an entirely different world. Mr. Sun never gets to see a baseball game being played late into the night or enjoy the colorful explosion of fireworks in the night sky. He never sees the nighttime animals like the raccoon or the owl, and he never sees children trick-or-treating on Halloween. He tells Mr. Moon that it’s perfectly all right by him if he stays but that he should think about what he’s told him. Not surprisingly, upon reflection, Mr. Moon agrees that it’s best if he goes to sleep so that he can be ready to greet the world and all its splendor at night. Cobb (Daniel Dinosaur, 2012) will likely delight and instruct children with this charming tale. The message is loud and clear: Although the grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, it’s far better to love and appreciate the life one already has. Many young children may have mixed feelings about nighttime, a time of unwanted bedtime and imaginary monsters hiding in dark bedroom closets. However, Jaeger’s illustrations give the night a soft, beautiful glow, complementing Cobb’s text and simultaneously convincing both Mr. Moon and the reader that nighttime is a magical time. Her personifications of Mr. Moon and Mr. Sun are utterly delightful; perhaps the most amusing page in the book features a sad-faced Mr. Moon attempting to fruitlessly blow a dangling kite as the children are tucked in their beds. Cobb’s text is less notable but has a simple charm likely to please young readers and should be light and easy enough for children to enjoy in one sitting—perhaps even just before bedtime.

A pleasing children’s narrative with a relevant message.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463619190

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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