Child/Young Adult

Moonday by Adam Rex

Moonday by Adam Rex (Disney Hyperion, 2013) answers the question, “what would happen if the moon decided to stay in my backyard?” The town cannot wake up, the tide comes in to the narrator’s backyard, and they cannot hide the bright light of the moon.

I really enjoy Moonday because of the ridiculous and bizarre aspects. It feels like a dream: the story begins and ends with the narrator watching the moon out of her car window. It it she who has the idea to take it back up to the hill to leave it there. I love the silly details that make it feel more real than a dream: mom’s best tablecloth, the dogs howling at the moon, Mom saying “zip your coat” as the child walks on the moon.

Adam Rex has provided gorgeous paintings to complement the fantasy. Interestingly, the beginning papers and the end papers are simple sketches of the town: only in the midst of the dream are things realistic and detailed. I liked the style, I liked the fantasy, and I especially liked the neat resolution. Moonday is highly recommended.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

It is always rather dangerous when the Estate of a Favorite Author decides to approve a retelling, remake, or sequel to a Favorite Series.

So I was a bit apprehensive to read Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus (Dutton Children’s Books, 2009). With the Disney movie versions of Pooh, Tigger, and friends, I had reason to be wary. (Many of the modern story lines are simply horrible!)

I needn’t have worried. Author David Benedictus and illustrator Mark Burgess treated the Winnie-the-Pooh legacy much as Mr. Milne and Mr. Shepherd would have done: it featured a rather clever rhyming (although stuffed) bear, a timid and frequently blushing Piglet, a self-centered Eeyore, and all the other characters much as I fell in love with them in Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. The Christopher Robin who joins the friends during summer break is, likewise, English through-and-through, teaching his friends cricket, wearing his blue suspenders, and otherwise bringing imagination, silly confusion, and adventure back to the Hundred Acre Wood. (more…)

Poetrees by Douglas Florian

Poetrees by Douglas Florian

Poetrees by Douglas Florian (Beach Lane Books, 2010) is a creative collection of poems about trees, seeds, and the growing cycle of plant life presented in a colorful and innovative way.

The first thing to catch the reader’s attention is the layout of the book. While most picture books have a left side binding, this one has a top binding. It is fun to peruse a book that has such a different approach, and since trees are often tall and majestic, this is simply perfect for a picture book about majestic trees!

Beyond the page layout, however, is the creativity with which the author formats each poem. His “shape poems” are wonderfully accurate. The poem about the baobab, for example, is fat, with a rectangular structure just like the thick tree. “Oak” has two close lines and then two expanded lines and the four-line poem almost resembles an acorn’s thick top and lighter bottom portion. (more…)