UNCLE JAMES

A bleak realistic story about a family eking out a meager living after Father dies. Jimmy, the narrator, has to drop out of school to help on the farm; but during the first hungry winter, mother and children are buoyed by the hope offered in Uncle James's letters—he's coming to help; he's making money logging, and he'll send some soon. The letters, full of Uncle James's exploits and promises, continue through a hard summer before James himself turns up, drunk and penniless. Jimmy's angry, but Mom is philosophical (``His words lied, but his heart didn't. He wanted the best for us...''). She also, in a simplistic conclusion, reforms her brother with long night talks, argument, and love. Still, a perceptive, well-told story of hard times early in the century, illustrated with sober insight in Dooling's carefully crafted paintings, in somber grays and browns. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-525-65110-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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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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