THE NIGHT THE MOON CAME BY

Emilia doesn't believe in trolls or ``ghosts and ghastly creatures with no heads,'' but one night when the moon comes stalking on its long legs and shines through the window, her little cousin is certain he hears ``Nightlings'' in the attic. It's ``just the cat hunting for mice,'' scoffs Emilia, but when he describes the dreadful creatures (realized in delightfully eerie detail in èhlin's watercolors, where fey grotesques peer from every corner), she creeps up to the attic with him to see. Here a real owl and old toys seem as weird as the fanciful spooks; and when the grownups come to see what's going on, they also find a real tramp, who apologizes and is given a snack. The conclusion is ambivalent: the tramp converses amiably with the Nightlings, while the cat plays with them ``even though they didn't exist.'' This offbeat Swedish book may scare timid souls, but those with stouter hearts will find the chills delicious. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 1993

ISBN: 91-29-62246-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: R&S/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1993

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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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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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