cover image By the Light of the Harvest Moon

By the Light of the Harvest Moon

Harriet Ziefert, illus. by Mark Jones. Blue Apple (Chronicle, dist.), $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-934706-69-5

After their winter-themed Snow Party, Ziefert and Jones return to fete the joys of autumn. The story's backdrop is Apple Hill Farm, where a wind comes up and "orange, yellow, and crimson leaves swirl and twirl and dance in the sky" until they coalesce into pumpkin-headed "leaf people." During the rambunctious harvest party that ensues, these cheery humanoids introduce young readers to autumn traditions like bobbing for apples, pumpkin stacking and stringing popcorn necklaces, while a leafy grandma succinctly explains the autumnal equinox: "The hours of daylight and darkness are equal and fall begins. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are harvested, leaves turn the color of jewels." Luminous pastels capture the vivid colors of the season, from New England%E2%80%94bright foliage to atmospheric details like a cow's profile softly outlined by harvest moon glow. Eventually the partiers are swept away when "the wind awakens from its slumber and delivers gusty blasts of air." But thanks to Ziefert's apple-crisp descriptions and the high energy of Jones's jubilant creatures, readers may be tempted outside to make some autumn magic of their own. Ages 3%E2%80%947. (Sept.)