cover image Wild Honey from the Moon

Wild Honey from the Moon

Kenneth Kraegel. Candlewick, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8169-2

In episodes divided into seven short chapters for newer readers, Kraegel (Green Pants) writes a classic quest story with a twist: it follows the parent, not the child. In winter, Mother Shrew’s son Hugo contracts a mysterious illness (“His feet were hot, his head was cold, and he just slept and slept”), and her household medical reference notes that the fever is dangerous and suggests a remedy: “One teaspoon of wild honey from the moon has been known to cure.” With all her energy directed toward obtaining the antidote, she sets off, negotiating a flight to the moon from a Great Horned Owl while evading his cordially phrased threats. Once on the moon, she comforts a herd of frightened Night Mares and withstands a chorus of no’s from the drones guarding the Moon’s Queen bee (“My dear sick son needs your honey to be well. So step aside”). Kraegel’s illustrations linger on tiny lines and fine textures: leaves on trees, stars in the sky, and wood grain and warmth in the Family Shrew’s tree house abode. Reassuring and warmhearted, the story celebrates a brave and loving guardian who will do anything for her child. Ages 4–8. [em](Nov.) [/em]