A CLOAK FOR THE MOON

Kimmel and Krenina (The Magic Dreidels, 1996, etc.) reconstruct a literary fairy tale from a story by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. In Kimmel's version, the tailor Haskel from Tzafat is in love with the Moon. He dreams that she has asked him for a cloak to keep her warm in the cold night sky, but he doesn't know how he will make an appropriately large and flexible garment. Acting on a tip from one of his uncle's apprentices, he sails to China and travels to a mountain city called "The Roof of the World" in search of a fabled cloth woven from light. Krenina here places lotus blossoms and Buddha faces among the winding decorations of leaves and flowers. The secret of spinning thread from light, once known in this city, has been lost, and the hem of the traditional royal wedding gown, whose fabric can fit any wearer perfectly, has come undone. Puzzling over the mystery with a magnifying glass in the moonlight, the tailor discovers that the concentrated light causes the thread to grow. He repairs the wedding dress so that the princess can be married. From a gift of a bit of the gown's thread he weaves a cloth of light, and thus is able to sew a cloak for the Moon. Krenina's gouache illustrations are both comical and poignant, lending an appropriately nimble and graceful touch to the tale. In an author's note, Kimmel identifies his source as one of the mystical tales of Rabbi Nachman, without further elaboration on the tale itself. While not obviously reflective of its Hasidic roots, the retelling is satisfying both as a story of devotion and determination and as a magical look at the nature of light. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1493-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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