cover image Red Knit Cap Girl

Red Knit Cap Girl

Naoko Stoop. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-12946-6

Red Knit Cap Girl’s eponymous headwear makes her look like an acorn or a mushroom—right at home in her forest surroundings. She longs to talk to the Moon, and Mr. Owl (whose golden, glowing eyes burning in his dark lair give the story its only tense moment) offers sage advice: “The Moon is too far to reach, but if you want, she will bend down to listen to you.” Red Knit Cap Girl enlists the help of a bear, a squirrel, and a hedgehog to carry out her plan to draw the Moon close. In Stoop’s first picture book, she paints on plywood, and the wood grain background gives each spread a gentle, wavelike feel and a luxurious sense of texture; subtly graduated hues provide quiet drama. Stoop delivers the message about ingenuity and cooperation in human, not abstract, terms: “You have made it dark enough to see me and quiet enough to hear me,” says the Moon when she appears. It’s a successful ensemble piece, gorgeously illustrated, in which each character has a part to play. Ages 3–6. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (June)