Upbeat and inventive but underdeveloped.


The Moose People and the Magic Magazine


A sudden burst of magic brings surprising changes for a family of moose in debut author Bogen’s wacky picture book.

Life turns upside down for a mild-mannered family of moose when the appearance of a double rainbow disrupts an ordinary meal. Before they know it, a magical magazine has been hurled into their midst, and the unassuming moose are shocked to find themselves standing upright on two legs. Even more shocking, they’re suddenly aware of their lack of clothing; they need to find something to wear, pronto, and a series of costume changes follows. It’s up to the Moose family to establish a town—if only they can find the right clothes first! The quirky, creative premise offers plenty of potential, but the decision to focus solely on the Moose family’s quest for clothing leaves the story feeling underdeveloped, since their magical transformation and search for clothes feel like the beginnings of a longer story rather than a story in its own right. Many of the twists feel sudden and poorly explained; the arrival of an exploding magical magazine, for example, is never elaborated upon or given any further link to the story. The colorful, cartoonish illustrations are sure to be a draw, particularly given the narrative’s sense of visual humor. Children will be happy to giggle along with moose dressed up as igloos and French toast. The sense of humor goes slightly awry, however: the repeated motif of unclothed moose covering themselves with strategically placed leaves and butterflies is likely to draw more giggles and attention than the story itself. Readers drawn to the colorful characters will have to hope Bogen chooses to develop her characters’ adventures into a more satisfying series.

Upbeat and inventive but underdeveloped.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-53355-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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