Hodges (Comus, p. 135, etc.) draws on various sources of English and Scottish folklore to create this beguiling story of a house haunted by Molly Limbo, wife of a pirate and currently inhabiting a room at the top of the house. To miserly Mr. Means, the house, charmingly depicted in watercolors with borders painted to look like aged paper, is priced right. He doesn't mind living with a ghost he doesn't believe in. He moves in, buries his money, then hires Mrs. Handy, the widow next door, to cook and clean for him. Her first day of work leaves her bone-tired, but makes only a dent in the mess. She can hardly believe her eyes when she arrives the next day to find the house spotless. Apparently another housekeeper has lent a ghostly hand. When she finishes that day, Mrs. Handy sets out a cupcake and milk to thank Molly. Mr. Means soon decides one housekeeper is enough and fires Mrs. Handy; that night, Molly creates disorder in the house, leaving a pertinent note in flour she's scattered on the kitchen floor. Mr. Means takes the message to heart, rehiring Mrs. Handy and soon acquiring genuine affection for her and her children. Masterful handling of intriguing material, accompanied by visuals that recall Arthur Rackham's work; this is an entertaining read bolstered by positive values. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80581-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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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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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...


From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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