Monday, September 19, 2016

Beware! Jack O' Jerks! Mitchell on the Moon by R. W. Alley

One windy fall evening, Mitchell was leading the way. Until... Gretchen said "STOP!"

"The moon is disappearing."

"Uh-oh," said Mitchell.

Crunching through the autumn leaves and costumed as a sorcerer for Halloween, older brother Mitchell is leading his trio of siblings forth for some trick-or-treating, when younger sister Gretchen notices that part of the moon is ... GONE!

Sensible Clark points out that clouds are just drifting across the moon, and Annabelle insists that the moon is still safely up there in the sky. But big brother Mitchell accepts the challenge to save Halloween from the dark.

"Gretchen is right. The moon is in trouble. Only I, the Sorcerer of Space, can save the moon!"

Commandeering a ladder leaning against a tree, Mitchell waves his wand, declaring that only the Sorcerer of Space can fly the Moon Ladder of Magic Mystery.

But unnoticed behind him, little Gretchen, carrying her little wagon full of roly-polys (little white balls with smiley faces, capable of morphing to meet the need), climbs on the ladder behind him. With a Zappity Snap! Mitchell waves his wand and blasts into space, soaring into the stratosphere and beyond. With another bit of magic he captures the moon. Hooking his magic ladder on one end of the crescent moon, Mitchell races toward the other end where something sinister is indeed in progress!

"GADZOOKS! Jack O' Jerks are biting away at bits of the moon like candy!"

Suddenly Mitchell's stowaway little sister leads the way, hurling her multi-use roly-polys at the dastardly Jack O' Jerks.

"Let's get 'em!" Gretchen shouts.

But the ravenous Jack O' Jerks look at Gretchen as if she's the pick of Halloween treats, and Mitchell sees that his sister needs some saving!

"Yes, please," pleads Gretchen.

Will the space-traveling siblings prevail? Will the moon be saved? Will Halloween even happen this year for the fantastic foursome?

Well, what do you think? In this adventure, R. W. Alley continues his "quadrilogy" about the fantasy adventures of these four imaginative kids through the four seasons in Mitchell on the Moon (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2016), a rousing autumnal tale that leaves the four brothers and sisters and their long-suffering pooch dazed and amazed, but still up for trick-or-treating expedition, now fully lit by the rescued moon.

R. W. Alley's illustrations are outstanding, filled with double-page spreads in which the land of imagination flows seamlessly from the charming New England coastal scene into deep space and back again. With a slight touch of spookiness just right for the scary season and plenty of action in each scene, young would-be holiday celebrants will find this third story in the series will inspire their own trick-or-treat adventures.

Other books in this series, each featuring a different sibling, are Annabelle at the South Pole, Clark in the Deep Sea, and Gretchen Over the Beach.

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