cover image The Moon Robber

The Moon Robber

Stephen Krensky, Dean Morrissey. HarperCollins, $14.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028581-4

The settings and some characters from Morrissey's previous fantasy tales resurface in this middling chapter book, first in the Magic Door series. Here, six-year-old Joey returns to the group of islands ""across the Sea of Time"" that he visited in The Great Kettles. He and 10-year-old friends Sarah and Michael enter the Great Kettles through a mysterious door in the shop of toy maker Sam (who came to Father Christmas's aid in The Christmas Ship), finding themselves in the village of Moonhaven. Perched on a platform in the main square is a large, spherical machine that the children learn is the moon. After they enter it in hopes of meeting Captain Luna, ""the Man in the Moon,"" Sarah pulls a lever and the moon rises into the sky. Their flight is short-lived, since Mogg, a seemingly ferocious giant who ""fancies himself a pirate,"" plucks the orb out of the sky and holds it hostage until Sam devises a way to appease him (it turns out Mogg is afraid of the dark). Morrissey and Krensky (How Santa Got His Job) sprinkle their light narrative with some clever contrivances and amusing dialogue, yet wordiness intermittently stalls the pace. However, Morrissey's crisp paintings and spot art are as captivating as ever. Depicting the imaginative world of the story with uncanny clarity, the graphics will keep readers aloft throughout this flight of fancy. Ages 7-10. (June)