Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review of Moon Plane by Peter McCarty

Review of Moon Plane by Peter McCarty

Henry Holt

2006 Charlotte Zolotow award winner

What a delightful book full of imagination!   How many times have you seen an airplane flying overhead, and wondered about the people inside, where they were going, and what they were doing. There is something romantic about flying. As the young boy sees a plane overhead, he wonders. But his wondering isn't limited to a normal flight. No. He can fly the moon plane, get out and walk around, and fly above the craters. But the dream only lasts a while. When a plane goes up, it must come down, and so the boy returns to earth, and to his home and family. The (almost) black and white drawings give a sense of mystery and nostalgia–- a perfect fit for the story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter McCarthy, an author and illustrator born in Connecticut in 1966, had a childhood full of imagination. He first considered a career of math and science, but he also liked to draw. The lure of illustrating captured him (with encouragement from friends) and he entered the School of Visual Arts in NYC in 1992. His first major illustration came in 1995 with Night Driving. From that point on, he’s made his mark and received a number of awards along the way, including the   Charlotte Zolotow award for Moon Plane in 2006.

For more about Alan Elliott visit

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review of My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman

Review of   My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman, Illustrated by E. B. Lewis.


2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner

Every summer millions of kids learn to swim at public pools or at organizations like the YMCA. I used to go every weekday at 8am for the “free swim” at our local public pool. Almost every day there were the same kids – and some of them became friends.

My Best Friend is about six year old Lily who wants to be friends with seven year old Tamika. But Tamika has her own friend. Lily tries everything she can think of to make friends with Tamika, but nothing works. She’s disappointed. Keesha wants to be friends with Lily, but Lily ignores her. (Irony?) Eventually Lily and Keesha become friends.

This is a great story of reality. Someone once said that kids should be disappointed at least once every day to get them used to the real world. That may be a little harsh, but learning to deal with disappointment and move on is a - real good  life skill.  This story illustrates the hurt of disappointment, the recovery through realization, and the joy of moving on. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ann Rodman is known for her award winning YA novel Yankee Girl selected as one of the "25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read." Although she’s lived a number of places, she is one of those wonderfully gifted writers with a compelling southern voice and story. She currently lives in Georgia and has followed My Best Friend with a number of other picture books.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review of Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Review of Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Scholastic, Inc

2005 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner

Rarely would a black and white children’s picture book make it into production nowadays. But Kitten’s First Full Moon works perfectly because of the story. Anyway, what is cuter than a little kitten? And it’s a curious kitten at that. This story has everything going for it from the cover. The author had me on the first page. Kitten sees the moon and thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. She tries all manner of ways to get to it – most of them ending in (humorous) disaster. Kitten is inventive and determined in her quest of the sky milk-bowl. Of course, she never reaches the milk in the sky, but the ending is as satisfying as a bedtime warm glass of – you know what.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Henkes (born 1960) is an author illustrator who has more than 40 books in his portfolio. Not only has he won the Zolotow award with Kitten, it also won a Caldecott Medal, and he’s been nominated for a Newbery. He’s written and illustrated for his entire career. 

For more about Alan Elliott visit