FATIMA AND THE DREAM THIEF

The wealthy lord of a castle strikes a peculiar deal with a desperately poor boy, Hassan. If Hassan can work for the man for a week without losing his temper, he'll receive a gold coin. If he becomes angry and forfeits his coin, the castle's owner will also have the right to take Hassan's dreams. Hassan works hard all week, but allows himself to be provoked by his master on the last day. Without pay or his dreams, Hassan trudges home, where sister Fatima vows to redress the wrong. She agrees to work for the Dream Thief on the same terms, but makes him promise her two gold coins if he loses his temper. During the week Fatima keeps her eyes open, studying her master and puzzling over the secrets of the locked room and the old mute woman who also toils in the castle. Ultimately, Fatima earns not two gold coins, but ten, as well as the grateful friendship of all under the thumb of the Dream Thief, by releasing the caged butterflies of dreams from his locked room. Schami and his collaborators on The Crow Who Stood on His Beak (p. 536) have created a rich and fully realized setting for this robust story. The illustrations are extraordinary—forced in perspective, free in format, and lucid within the terms of the book's exotic realm. A visual treat with a gutsy heroine at its center. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-55858-653-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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