THE TRAVELING MEN OF BALLYCOO

The title and the cover, with the three unglamorous traveling men jigging and waving merrily in a meadow, tell you what to expect from Bunting's brogue-laden tale of the three musicians—Cathal wailing out "The Hunt" on a penny whistle, Sean "bent near in two" over his fiddle, and Young Jimmy playing the melodeon—who travel about, calling all Ireland home, and never stop to marry. "Didn't they have all they needed in each other, with their music to share and a royal welcome wherever they went?" But the years go by without a notice and finally, when even Young Jimmy is close to 70, the three retire to their cottage in Ballycoo, settling in well and playing their music at night. "But there was something wanting"—and no sooner does Cathal recognize what they need—an audience to share the music—than up goes a welcome sign on the door that draws all the neighbors in for a nightly party at home. And "Don't we still go places every night of our lives," asks Cathal, referring to the illusions conjured up by their music. Fair enough, and sufficiently well turned, with Zemach's dancing, gesturing figures and floating musical notes sustaining the lilt—but there's a bit of a tired, machine-made air to the story, and the pictures too seem simply to be supplying what's called for.

Pub Date: April 29, 1983

ISBN: 0153329785

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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