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Night Of The Moonjellies

by Mark Shasha

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From Publishers Weekly
This beautifully illustrated picture book debut evokes the fullness of a New England childhood through descriptions of a single summer day. Seven-year-old Mark is helping at his grandmother's seaside hot dog stand, purveyor of "the best lobster rolls in New England." He finds "something that felt like jelly" on the beach, but further investigation is postponed by the hubbub at the stand: "Fries crackled. Cheeseburgers sizzled. 'More rolls!' called Uncle Al. 'Rushing through!' Gram said, carrying a kettle of clam chowder up front. 'Low on straws!' Rollie shouted. I hurried to fill the box." When the busy day ends, Gram and Mark take a boat out to sea, where Mark sees an oceanful of shimmering white lights--moonjellies--and returns his to the water. The text offers a wide range of tones, from soothing to stimulating, but the book's greatest strength lies in its artwork. Shimmering blues and greens suggest the iridescence of the tranquil night sea; vibrant reds and oranges capture the harried humans. A strongly atmospheric work. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-- On his way to help grandmother and relatives at a seaside hot dog stand, seven-year-old Mark stops on the beach to pick up a small jellylike substance that he places in a bag of seawater. A moonlight ride with Gram on a fishing boat takes them out on the ocean where thousands of moonjellies shimmer, and the boy slips his treasure back among them. Based on a childhood experience in New England, Shasha's narrative is full of small details that illuminate the story but don't impede it. His rich pastels combined with the text create a strong sense of place and time--the warmth of family relationships, the quiet companionship of the boy and his grandmother, the cheerful hard work and hustle-bustle of the concession stand, and the magic of the glowing sea. His use of light, shadows, and darkness in the luminous full-color double-page spreads invite readers right into the story. Unfortunately, neither the text nor the jacket notes identify exactly what a moonjelly is. Despite this omission, it's a strong debut. --Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Notable Books for Children 2002, Smithsonian Magazine, December, 2002
The author drew on his childhood— ...in Connecticut—to re-create an interlude spent in the company of his grandmother.

Notable Book for Children 2002, Smithsonian Magazine
The author drew on his childhood to re-create an interlude spent in the company of his grandmother.

Card catalog description
Seven-year-old Mark helps his grandmother and other family members run their seaside hot dog stand and then has a surprise at the end of the day.

About the Author
Mark Shasha is a painter, writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Phoenix, Boston Magazine and other publications. His first book, Night of the Moonjellies, won the Marion Vannett Ridgway Honor Book Award in 1993 and was named to the American Booksellers Association's Pick of the Lists.

Mark has travelled to hundreds of schools, usually in his familiar yellow suit, where he has delighted tens of thousands of children with his books, journals, songs and drawings. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the education of young people, he was awarded the 1999 Shining Star Award by the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut. Home is on the North Shore of Boston, where he sometimes appears in theatre productions and is known to show up for almost any occasion with his guitar. He lives with his wife and two children.



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