As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are.

THE BOY AND THE BLUE MOON

A boy and his cat magically travel to the moon on the night of the blue moon.

In this book that’s reminiscent of The Little Prince in its poetic otherworldly-ness that is nevertheless firmly rooted in human longings, a white boy and his cat venture out on a familiar forest walk on the night of the blue moon—a time, the boy says, when “anything can happen.” It’s hard to overstate how tightly crafted this story is, from its gently precise narrative (“Wish-wish,” say the waves—a hint to readers of the boy’s longing to go to the moon) to its illustrative prowess: the cat wordlessly turns blue as it grooms itself in six sequential vignettes, alerting readers early to magical potential. With a sure touch O’Leary suspends reality as the boy and cat first go for a row and then journey to the moon, which is “perfect”—but then, as in Sendak’s masterpiece, loneliness brings them home again. Crowley’s illustrations enhance and complete the story as he uses a predominantly blue-and-white palette to evoke a moonlit, shadow-filled night that convincingly creates magical possibility, just as the use of red for the boy’s lifejacket and then spacesuit and the yellow glow of the lights of home create a feeling of warmth and safety. 

As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62779-774-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 22

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more