NUTIK AND AMAROQ PLAY BALL

Amaroq, the boy, is named for a great wolf leader; the wolf pup, Nutik, is like his brother, characters drawn from Julie’s Wolf Pack (1997) and first introduced for younger readers in Nutik, the Wolf Pup (2001). Amaroq is Eskimo and he lives on the tundra, but he and Nutik want to toss around a football, even if the afternoon goes on all night in the Arctic summer. But the Kuklook boys have taken the football, so at Nutik’s urging, they go out to explore. They pass the hangar where Amaroq’s father keeps his plane, pass the sealskin boat, and pass the fish-drying racks, until Amaroq can no longer see his village. Nutik leads him to an abandoned oil barrel and chivvies him until he reaches inside to find his pilfered ball. They play and skip lunch, and Amaroq still worries about finding his way back. But remembering that the wolf had found the ball, he lets him lead the way home to a late dinner. The language is as crisp and clear as the Arctic day, making universal appeal out of this exotic locale. Rand’s pictures combine glorious color with lively characterization of both the boy and the puppy-like wolfling. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028166-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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