Winter 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“What would a mother do for her child? In this poignant and adventurous tale, Mother Shrew goes beyond the ends of the earth—to the moon—to fetch some wild honey for her son, who is sick at home. With cozy illustrations and just enough suspense for little listeners, this story will enchant children and their parents alike.”
— Heather Hebert, Children's Book World (PA), Haverford, PA
In an epic adventure like no other, an unflappable mother will stop at nothing to find a cure for her ailing young son — even if it means traveling to the moon itself.
“Where are you going?”
“To the moon. A quick trip.”
“But you can’t fly.”
“Darling, I am your mother,” she said, and gave him one last kiss.
On a cold winter’s eve, deep in the woods, a mother shrew frets about her sick young son. His head is cold and his feet are hot, and there is only one thing that can cure him: wild honey from the moon. Mother Shrew does not stop to wonder how she will make such an impossible journey. Instead, she grabs her trusty red umbrella, gives her darling son a kiss, and sets out into the unknown. Along the way, Mother Shrew encounters one obstacle after another, from a malevolent owl to a herd of restless “night mares” to an island humming with angry bees. But each can prove no match for a mother on a mission. From the mind of the uniquely talented Kenneth Kraegel comes an utterly original ode to the limitlessness of maternal love.
About the Author
Kenneth Kraegel is a self-taught illustrator and the creator of the picture books Green Pants, The Song of Delphine, and King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year. Kenneth Kraegel lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Divided into seven heavily illustrated chapters, the story is one that will captivate contemplative and creative young readers. Caregivers may find this to be their next weeklong bedtime story and one that fanciful children will want to hear again and again. Kraegel's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are reminiscent of Sergio Ruzzier's but a bit grittier and with a darker color scheme. The surreal landscapes are appropriately unsettling, but a bright color palette keeps them from overwhelming readers.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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.
A lavishly-illustrated book about the bond between a mother shrew and her son, this gentle adventure story takes the reader along a magical journey to the moon and back...This could also be a good book for Mother's Day, a unit on the moon, or a compare/contrast unit with a nonfiction book about a relatively unfamiliar animal, the shrew.
—School Library Connection
Kraegel's detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations call to mind Sergio Ruzzier and feature colorful, anthropomorphic animals engaged in a variety of activities...Arranged in seven mini-chapters, this is a fanciful acknowledgement of the limitless devotion of mothers to their offspring.
From the charming tree house community where Mother Shrew lives to the mesmerizing patterns of the Queen Bee’s garden, readers of all ages will delight in studying the intricate world Kraegel evokes. This ode to determined mothers is a solid addition to most collections, particularly where beginning chapter books are in demand.
—School Library Journal
In seven short, delightful chapters, Kenneth Kraegel (King Arthur's Very Great Grandson; Green Pants; The Song of Delphine) takes enraptured readers on an adventure they are likely to want to experience again and again...Wild Honey from the Moon is a mother's love story... and an adventure to linger happily over. Put this one on the shelf next to Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram's Guess How Much I Love You and Maurice Sendak's Little Bear.
—Shelf Awareness Pro
The ink and watercolor illustrations are rich in texture with fine filigree lining, calling up the surreal feel of Chris Van Allsburg’s work. The warmth has an appealing touch of the absurd, and kiddos who appreciated the magic of The Wind in the Willows might appreciate this moonlit tale.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books