By Elinor Lander Horwitz

Islandport Press, 2015

32 pages, $17.95

The night sky is a magical place where children’s imaginations can create wonderful images and activities.

“When The Sky Is Like Lace” explores the whimsical world of three little girls as they venture outside at night to experience a fantasy world of singing otters, marching snails and dancing trees.

Originally published in 1975, this is author Elinor Horwitz’s 14th children’s book. Illustrator Barbara Cooney (1917-2000) wrote and illustrated more than 100 children’s books, and was named a “Living Treasure of the State of Maine” in 1996.

Outside at night, on a “bimulous” night (bimulous is a fake word), the girls see a group of otters singing the only song they know, the snails are offended and march off in a huff and the trees dance to the tune. To fully enjoy the bimulous night the girls know the rules — don’t talk to a rabbit or scratch an itchy nose and always carry a lucky penny in your pocket. There is special food like pancakes with pineapple sauce, presents like marbles and a coconut, and fun activities like riding a camel or tickling an elephant. It is a silly night. For ages 4-8.


By Steven D. Powell

North Country Press, 2015

35 pages, $16.95

Author Steven Powell and illustrator Thomas Block are both Mainers and have collaborated to produce a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a charming, heartwarming story.

“Bear Moonlight Sonata” is a fanciful tale for ages 4-8 about a bear, a man and the power of music to enchant us.

In the mountains of Germany, bears gather in a forest clearing to listen to Berry Bear tell a story. He tells all the other bears about Moon Bear, a curious and brave female bear who met Ludwig von Beethoven, the music composer who wrote the world famous “Moonlight Sonata.” The bears hear the music from a nearby town, and Moon goes to find the music’s source. The bears love the music, especially at night when the forest is quiet. Moon puts on a large red nightshirt and a big floppy hat as a disguise and enters the town. She sees a man playing the piano and knows he’s the source of the music.

Moon later rescues the man from robbers, he thanks her and dedicates the “Moonlight Sonata” to his friend Moon Bear.

Years later, the bears still gather in the clearing to hear the story and listen to the music.


By Dan Paley

Tilbury House Publishers, 2015

32 pages, $7.95

Tall tales are bigger than life it seems, and some may even be true. Maybe.

“Luigi And The Barefoot Races” is an urban tale set in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the kids’ favorite summertime sport is barefoot running races.

Maine publisher Tilbury House scores again with a humorous, exciting and suspenseful story of an underdog who keeps his promise and tries his best with a nod to a boy’s best friend. Luigi is the fastest barefoot runner on Regent Street. He’s never lost a race. One day he is challenged to a race by a boy named Mikey from a different street. Luigi beats Mikey easily, but Mikey is a sore loser. He challenges Luigi to race his best friend and Luigi agrees. The next day the whole neighborhood turns out to watch the race, but everyone is surprised to see that Mikey’s best friend is Mean Max. Luigi is scared and doesn’t want to race, but he keeps his promise and vows to do his best.

The race is exciting and tense to the last few steps. The lessons: Always keep your promise and always do your best even when scared. For ages 5-10.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.