Monday, April 14, 2008

Blizzard of the Blue Moon

I read Blizzard of the Blue Moon with great delight. It’s number 36 in the popular “Magic Tree House” series. I must admit, it had been years since I read any books from this collection. My youngest daughter was an avid fan and she introduced me these stories, which, I, too, fell in love with. My personal favorite: Sunset of the Sabertooth. My daughter's favorite is Mummies in the Morning.
Blizzard of the Blue Moon’s setting is New York during 1938. As with all the books in this series, the main characters, siblings Jack and Annie, are on a mission – in this case, to save a unicorn. The great thing about this book, in relation to the depression era, is Sal Murdocca’s illustrations and the unique way author, Mary Pope Osborne, weaves history into her suspenseful plot.
Murdocca comments at the end of the book how much he enjoyed illustrating this book - and it shows. His illustrations capture the essence of the era with period automobiles, cityscapes and Central Park. I especially enjoyed the beautiful drawing of Belvedere Castle that factors into the story. I was unfamiliar with the building and enjoyed learning about its history. My family and I plan a visit to New York this summer. The last time I went, I wanted to see the Bethesda Fountain. This time, I’ll make a point of seeing the castle.
Ms. Osborne mixes an interesting combination of fact and fiction. As the children find themselves wondering around New York City on their quest to find the unicorn, they follow a path that takes them to various NYC landmarks. They start their journey in Central Park where they stumble upon the castle mentioned above. They witness soup lines and people wrapped in newspaper trying to stay warm while on route to the Bronx Zoo. There is a subway ride and a taxi ride before they end up at the ‘Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum’ where she offers a subtle history lesson on the collection of art and artifacts housed there. Another place I hope to visit when I travel to NYC.

Here is the link to the publisher's fun website where readers can learn more about this and all the “Magic Tree House” books:

and check out author Mary Pope Osborne's great website:
Osborne, Mary Pope, Blizzard of the Blue Moon. Illus. Sal Murdocca. New York : Random House, 2006. (0-375-83037-5)

1 comment:

Salvatore Murdocca said...

Thanks for the nice comments regarding my illustrations. SM