THE RING OF TRUTH

Bateman's first book is a beautifully layered, consistently sprightly take on the notion that truth is stranger than fiction. Itinerant peddler Patrick O'Kelley habitually tells magnificent lies, blarneying his gullible customers into purchasing scarves and trinkets. When he hears of a blarney contest in County Donegal, he sets his cap for the prize of a pot of gold, boasting that he ``can spout better blarney than the king of the leprechauns himself.'' The king's mountain has ears (proof is in one of Rayyan's witty complementary illustrations), and the king decides to teach Patrick a lesson. In the throne room to which Patrick has been summoned, the king bestows upon Patrick a Ring of Truth; the wearer cannot lie while it is on his finger, and cannot remove it. Without his sales pitch, Patrick loses business, for ``people . . . were now sore disappointed'' in Patrick, and they run the hapless peddler out of town after town. All is not lost—when Patrick tells the amazing truth of why he no longer qualifies for the competition, the people believe his story to be the biggest blarney of all, awarding him the gold. Through the ``fair folk,'' Patrick is provided with further truthful material for his tales, never believed by listeners in the grosser world. It's a reality that creates a larger, ironical wrapping for this tale; fanciful illustrations take off from a Renaissance base to provide yet another twist on the central theme. A cohesive, enchanting book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-8234-1255-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more