THE MOONBOW OF MR. B. BONES by J. Patrick Lewis
Kirkus Star


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The author of some deftly comical verse (A Hippopotamusn't, 1990) spins an allegorical tale about a mysterious old peddler--whose wares include glass jars labeled ""Sundrops,"" ""Snowrays,"" and ""Moonbows""--and the skeptical young storyteller who convinces the other people in a little mountain town that Bartholomew Bones's ""secret weather bottles"" are as empty as they look. In the spirit of inquiry or mischief (or perhaps in competition with Bones's influence on his own audience), Tommy is the first to open a jar of Moonbows, apparently with no effect. Bones's once-eager customers drift away; Bones himself departs, never to return, but he stops in the gap to empty one last jar, leaving an extraordinary ""Moonbow"" that makes a convert of Tommy, whose scientific/poetic explanation of the ""strange white hoop of light"" concludes, ""the sky must be as clear as a glass jar."" A note states that the moonbow is ""an actual natural phenomenon"" in Cumberland Falls, Kentucky. But Lewis's enigmatic tale, with its thematic blend of hope, belief, and the gift of story, is intriguing even without that scientific fact. In Zimmer's vigorously crosshatched illustrations, where cheerful color vies with the gap's night shadows, the characters are amusingly caricatured--and yet their eyes shine with deeper feeling. Skillfully crafted by all concerned: an entertaining book that resonates on several levels.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1992
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Knopf