The Moon Ring
PreSchool-Grade 2-On the cover of this story of a magical trip, a pleased-looking African-American girl relaxes in the curve of a metallic silver moon above the skyline of New York City placed, surprisingly, behind a herd of running giraffes. As the story begins, Maxine, who sports short overalls and purple goggles, is resting with her grandmother on the porch after a hot day when they notice that there is a blue moon, a sure sign of magic. A silver ring falls from it and grants Maxine wishes, which she uses to travel to the Antarctic, the African savanna, Manhattan, and home again. The story alone is a typical, childlike, wish-fulfillment sequence, but the illustrations make it special, for DuBurke is a master of pose and expression. The word “adorable” comes to mind when looking at Maxine’s penguin walk and walrus ride; and the tiny silhouette of giraffe and girl on the Empire State Building in front of the silver moon is a charmer. Most unusual and appealing are the juxtaposition of realistic human bodies and faces with flat, cartoony clothes, settings, and animals. The story is really just a vehicle for the art, but these are impressive illustrations.