MY HOUSE HAS STARS

A book that celebrates the uniqueness of each culture and the ties that bind humans together. Readers are introduced to children in eight very different settings: Alaska, Mongolia, Ghana, Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, Nepal, and the American Southwest. The children speak of elements in their lives that mark them as distinctive: a story vine in Ghana, prayer flags in Nepal, a Mongolian yurt. Whether it is a mud hut or an urban skyscraper, all the children have homes, and all of them enjoy their all-embracing star-strewn roof, one that caps every house on Earth. McDonald (Insects Are My Life, 1995, etc.) loads as much detailed information as she can into the pages, mingling physical facts of the culture with mythical ones. In contrast, Catalanotto's watercolors are soft-edged and liquid. There is only a semblance of discontinuity between text and image, in their pursuit of mood, with McDonald's wealth of information vying to hitch a ride on poetically ephemeral paintings. On the whole, this is a successful expression of the fundamental link between the very particular and the most universal. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-531-09529-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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