THE ANGEL'S MISTAKE

STORIES OF CHELM

The team behind Dybbuk (1996) have collaborated on a winsome story set in the legendary town of Chelm, charting its origins to the angel carrying a bag of ``stupid souls'' and mistakenly spilling them all in one town. Prose recounts many of the exploits in which ``the wise men and women . . . put their brilliant minds together and solve their problems.'' Whether it's going barefoot in the snow to keep their shoes from getting wet or wearing their hats upside down to keep them dry, the people of Chelm are full of ideas. A need to light up the night leads the townspeople to set a fire and to then call upon the firemen who smother the flames with logs. The town burns down and the fools of Chelm are disbursed, just as ``the angels had intended.'' Podwal's sly yet strikingly beautiful gouache and colored-pencil paintings, using impressionistic brush strokes and skewed perspectives to render the travails of the fools, are a perfect foil for Prose's understated, humorous narrative. Families will find this is a savory treat for sharing. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-14905-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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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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