This simple, fanciful narrative will delight youngsters who already dream of the moon.

THE DOOR TO THE MOON

A boy and his dog embark on a space adventure in this debut picture book.

Taye, a pale-skinned, dark-haired youngster, wakes to a boom and a bright light: “Taye would normally go back to sleep, but this was not an ordinary night.” He sets off with his dog to find out what amazing thing has happened. In the field near his house is now a door that opens to a stairway to the moon. There, Taye meets aliens and astronauts, having fun until he’s sleepy enough to return to bed and dream about the places he’s been. Youngsters may wonder whether Taye has been dreaming the whole time, as the ending illustration with its bright moon echoes the opening image of the boy and his pooch in a bedroom flooded with light. The soft-edged pictures by debut illustrator Senarak enrich the whimsical fantasy. They show details absent from Santigul’s straightforward tale, such as Taye’s exploration preparations. The brush-stroke style offers grounding before the more fantastic, off-planet escapades begin. Clever design elements also enhance the storytelling. On the moon, the text goes around the sides of the pages. When the house is shown, with a wall absent, heading to a horizon point, the text angles the same way along Taye’s path.

This simple, fanciful narrative will delight youngsters who already dream of the moon.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73343-875-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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