BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD

In this feminization of the Creation myth, the creator of the world is a woman with a baby on her hip. The baby doesn’t slow her down a bit; just like in the biblical version, the creation takes place over six days, with a rest on the seventh. Folksy rhyming verse appears in large type on the verso of each page, with the accompanying recto completely filled by full-bleed, dramatic illustrations. Big Momma’s ambitious activities are described in countrified vernacular: “There was water, water everywhere, and Big Momma saw what needed to be done all right. So she rolled up her sleeves and went to it.” Her commands take a similar tone; she admonishes the newly created dark and light: “You two got work to do. Don’t you be fooling around none.” In an echo of the traditional text, she comments at the end of each day, “That’s good. That’s real good.” The acrylic paintings aptly convey the tone of each day’s production; they start out monochromatic until Big Momma has created the sun. The subsequent spreads are riots of color: the contented baby sits in a lush green field, munching on fresh fruits on the fourth day; brightly colored fish and birds appear on the fifth, animals blast out of a bright yellow “big bang” and people of all colors appear on the sixth. Big Momma’s sense of contentment as she settles in with the new folks to tell stories and rest on the seventh day is contagious; this beautifully illustrated, oversized paean to the Earth and to motherhood is a welcome addition to the creation-story pantheon. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7636-1132-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2003

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

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

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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