TAMBOURINE MOON

In a heartfelt story from Jones, a moonlit night and a tambourine link the past and present for a little girl and her grandfather. While walking home one night, Noni is fearful about the way the city looks in the dark. To comfort her, Grandaddy tells her the story of how he met his wife, Grandma Ismay, on an even darker night back in Alabama. He was on his way home and came across a church where the choir was practicing. One voice was so strong and clear that he just had to wait for the doors of the church to open after practice so he could see the singer. He walked Ismay home, then found himself on the dark path alone, still carrying her tambourine. As often happens in family stories, a little magic has worked itself into the telling over the years; the tambourine trembled in his hand, then leaped into the sky, lighting it up with a honeyed glow, and he was no longer afraid. Noni accepts that the full moon they face now is that tambourine from long ago, and the city skyline has become a more welcoming place. Widener’s illustrations capture the slate colors of the night sky, while his subdued tones in the city and country scenes turn the moon into a radiant lunar nightlight. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-80648-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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