THUMBELINA OF TOULABA

Born of a miniscule grain of millet and a mother’s wish, tiny, dark-skinned and beautiful Thumbelina is kidnapped by an unpleasant iguana that sees her as a prospective daughter-in-law. Horrified, Thumbelina refuses. Still a baby, she knows only one word, so when other animals scramble for her hand, she says “fish,” and gets a ride from one who brings her downriver. As she grows and meets animals—primarily native to South America, though the setting is never fully defined—she learns to be wary, but when she revives a bird of paradise, he becomes a true friend. Eventually offered the chance to become a spirit of the flowers, Thumbelina departs on dragonfly wings, unsure of and excited by her future. True to the Andersen tale, though more open-ended, Picouly’s retelling captures the mystery and lovely oddness of the original, although the otherwise lyrical story is occasionally disjointed and pedantic. Striking illustrations show the lushness of the forest and river and inventively present the world through Thumbelina’s perspective. A note includes information on animals that appear in the story. (Fairy tale. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-59270-069-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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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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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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