Like a mighty dream recalled from time gone by.

In Álvarez and Bowles’ folkloric collaboration, the moon stands alone in the vast night sky, tended by caring Rabbit and envied by clever Opossum.

Amid the stars, the moon—resembling a large, round jug—sits, radiant with a milky white light. Rabbit keeps the moon luminous, journeying up and down the Great Ceiba’s trunk to collect aguamiel, the “precious, glowing nectar that brims in the heart of the first and holy maguey” (an agave plant). When the moon wanes and dims, Rabbit pours aguamiel into it to return its lustrous light. Covetous Opossum strikes, cracking the moon to sap the aguamiel. Observing the darkened night sky, Rabbit finds Opossum drinking the nectar. “Foolish Opossum, what have you done?” Rabbit yells out. Filled with regret, Opossum heads deep into the earth to gather a mighty fire. From there on, the tale of Rabbit and Opossum slips into a cozy truce, altogether expected yet richly gratifying. Bolstered by the ethereal, whimsical text, the plush, incandescent acrylic and oil paint artwork gathers the subtleties and splendors of nighttime and the plant life that surrounds Rabbit and Opossum. Together words and images tug readers along at a measured pace. An excellent authors’ note underscores how common strands and crucial differences from wide-ranging Mesoamerican legends and myths furnish the inspiration at the roots of this tale. Publishes simultaneously in Spanish. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Like a mighty dream recalled from time gone by. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64614-251-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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