AUNT MINNIE AND THE TWISTER

Aunt Minnie is back, and if this time her story seems a bit rudderless, she is no less the epitome of good sense and protectiveness. Her nine charges, children of her late brother and his late wife, are getting bigger and the house is getting smaller, but as Minnie observes, “Well, we don’t have much room—but we have each other.” Readers learn how Minnie uses a great clanging bell to get her nieces’ and nephews’ attention. And that in the spring they use one of Minnie’s dresses on a scarecrow to frighten the crows; in summer, they bottle their vegetable harvest for the coming winter—Minnie abides as a systematic force. In the autumn, they make apple butter and apple cider and stow the storable vegetables in the root cellar. Boy do those veggies taste good in the dead of winter, and boy are they glad they have that root cellar—snakes, toads, and all—when the next spring a tornado drops in for a visit. Plum spins their house right on its axis, which serves as an occasion for them to build that necessary addition (“We can’t have the front door looking straight out yonder at the johnny house”). Perhaps a few too many topics get covered, and maybe the tornado scene is a bit too frantic, even for a tornado. But Lewin’s (A House Full of Christmas, 2001, etc.) watercolors are studies in warm domesticity, and Aunt Minnie continues as an Old Soul, teaching by example and ready with the comforting touch. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 22, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-11136-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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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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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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