A richly imagined dreamscape in a feat of paper artistry.

READ REVIEW

MAY THE STARS DRIP DOWN

In this achingly loving interpretation of the indie band Cub Country’s lullaby, a mother cuddles her sleepy son, picturing his dream wanderings in the natural world and wishing him well on his nighttime journeys.

McClure’s cut– and torn–black-paper illustrations carve out nocturnal landscapes in shadowy blues and blacks, with white bringing lightness in sharp relief. The boy shifts shape, turning into a fox, an owl, a seabird and even a fluttering leaf. Young readers will flip back to the book’s endpapers, pointing to the cherished toys and objects scattered in the boy’s bedroom that drift into his dreams. Marvelous double-page spreads feel like nature hunts themselves in their beautiful complexity, initiated on the first page with a full moon that’s dotted with light by small, circular cutouts. And with a page turn, the boy’s sleeping breath turns to stardust, and readers float off with him across sparkling sand dunes and rippling grasses. Many of the song’s lyrics will be lost in the ether. “And there will come a new dune. / May the sand wash over you.” Children won’t know what to make of such lines, but McClure’s masterful illustrations make both the mother’s intense connection to her son and his dazzling dreams lucid. (The song is available for download on the publisher’s website.)

A richly imagined dreamscape in a feat of paper artistry. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1024-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...

SKY COLOR

Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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