THE SECRET KEEPER

Daily the people of the village come through the woods to Kalli’s house to tell their guilty secrets, which she hides away in the hundreds of wooden drawers that line the walls of her cottage, like apothecary cases or library catalog cabinets. Only one person, Taln, the potter, does not come to visit. As fall turns to winter, the secrets begin to weigh heavily on Kalli, and she becomes ill. When a young girl discovers her, the villagers attempt a cure by sharing some happy secrets. After a child tells his secret, a blue butterfly flies from Kalli’s hands. As the villagers share good secrets with Kalli and with each other, Kalli recovers and spring returns. Then Taln whispers his secret: “I love the secret-keeper.” Solomon’s lovely watercolors, framed with jewel-toned borders, varied in size, shape and placement on heavy creamy paper, add fascinating details and emotional depth to this gentle jewel of a tale that will prompt discussion on the sharing of secrets, good and bad. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-83963-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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