RED KNIT CAP GIRL

From the Red Knit Cap Girl series

Red Knit Cap Girl wants to talk to the moon, even throwing a party for her, but only when the lights go out and quiet falls does it appear.

The big-booted, mushroom-headed girl’s bulbous silhouette, mute, mouth-less face and dotted eyes feel familiar, even though her proportions look downright strange. A crimson hat and smart jacket pop against shadowed woodlands, friendly and bright. Animal buddies (Rabbit, Bear, Squirrel and Hedgehog) help with her moon-chat mission, their kind beady eyes shining and stubby bodies playful. When Red Knit Cap Girl approaches a mystic night owl who might know how to draw the moon into a conversation, readers will bristle with interest. The owl, his eyes like embers, says enigmatically, “You will find a way.”  A plywood canvas creates a fantastically pliant, otherworldly atmosphere that undulates with shifting perspectives, horizons, dimensions—even surfaces. Once painted, the wood’s grain assumes the look of clouds, sand, water, grass, mist, creating a bewitching forest that feels at times magical and others spooky. Nocturnal hues (dusky yellows and reds, darkening greens and ultimately a blackening blue) transport readers to nightfall and the moon’s imminent arrival. Young readers might pleasantly puzzle over the moon’s need for dark and silence, for peace, in order to show herself and whisper with Red Knit Cap Girl.

A gentle Zen-like parable, with visual and narrative intrigue. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-12946-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart.

THE MAGICIAN'S HAT

New England Patriot and literacy advocate Mitchell proves to have a touch of magic as an author as well as on the field.

It’s Family Fun Day at the library, and families of many sizes, constellations, and skin tones are participating. Amid book scavenger hunts and storytelling, a magician arrives. He is white and lanky, sporting a purple polka-dot vest and a bright yellow ascot. But most importantly, he has a very large, mysterious hat. He tells the children how he came to Family Fun Day when he was younger and read his very first book about magic in the library. Turning the pages and getting lost in the words inspired him to become a magician. He realized that it wasn’t just about spells and potions, but that books themselves are magical. Three children reach into the hat and find books about their future professions—Amy, a white girl, is a dentist; Matt, a bespectacled black boy, is a football player; and Ryan, a white boy, is an astronaut. The magician then turns the hat to readers, asking, “What are your dreams?” Previously self-published, the work gets a new look from Lew-Vriethoff’s bustling library and bright swirls of magic and bookish motivation. As an entry in the books-are-awesome genre, it’s mostly distinguished by the author’s clear belief in his message.

Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11454-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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