TANUKI’S GIFT

A JAPANESE TALE

An extensive author's note details the origins of this somewhat bland story of a priest who takes in a creature (Tanuki) suffering from the cold. After returning each evening for ten winters, Tanuki begs the priest to request something from him so he can repay the priest for his kindnesses. After some reluctance, the priest requests three riyo of gold—gold that would allow him to hire more prayers to be said to insure his entrance into Paradise. The next evening and many more after, Tanuki does not come back. All winter and summer and into the following winter, there is no sign of Tanuki. The priest is concerned. Finally one winter's night, Tanuki returns with the three coins he has worked to obtain during his absence. The priest cries tears of joy for Tanuki's successful return. He realizes that their friendship is the most valuable gift. Roth's collage illustrations, created with painted papers, glow in their simplicity and sunny gold palette. Shapes are simple and blockish with pen and ink details. Each illustration adds to the enjoyment of Myers's (Basho and the Fox, 2000, etc.) tale that by itself lacks the sparkle needed to make this a first purchase. However, in this case the illustrations do redeem the text and will make this a satisfying tale for most collections in need of additional selections in the genre. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7614-5101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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