MY FATHER'S BOAT

From Garland (The Last Rainmaker, 1997, etc.), a treasure for readers to open again and again, for the beauty of the lyrical prose, and the powerful, bittersweet story of family love. Before sunrise, a Vietnamese immigrant and his son set out on a fishing boat to catch shrimp off the Texas coast. Evoked are the sounds and scent of the sea, the hard work of the fishermen, and the loving relationships between generations. The boy notices that “it feels lonely, out on the sea, but my father says that is part of a fisherman’s life—being alone with the ocean and sky and creatures living below, and alone with your memories.” When they stop to eat cold rice and sip hot tea, the father sings songs he learned in Vietnam, and tells his son about his own fisherman father: “He taught me all I am teaching you. But when the war came to our little village on the other side of the world, he could not leave the land he loved, and I could not stay.” On the road home, the tired boy sleeps, dreaming “that they are together: my grandfather, father, and I—out on the lonely sea in my father’s beautiful boat.” Acrylic and watercolor illustrations extend the mood of the story, from the fog-enshrouded first spread of sunrise to full daylight the following day, and endpapers of white gulls whirling against the magenta sky. Beautiful and compelling. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-590-47867-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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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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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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