More nights than I can remember when the rest of the world seems to be inside, I've been outside walking with Xena. On these strolls when darkness is falling or has settled in hours ago, I've been witness to some of the most spectacular moons. Depending on the weather, the season or the hour, the size and color varies as it shines brightly alone, wrapped in wispy clouds, framed in black-lace tree branches or resting on a horizon.
There are moments when the moon's presence is so large you truly believe by reaching, stretching, your hands might graze its surface. Adam Rex spins a tale in words and pictures, Moonday (Disney Hyperion) imagining the possibilities on a full moon night. You never know what will happen.
The moon hung full and low
and touched the tips of trees.
Riding in the car through the darkness with her parents, a young girl notices the moon's brightness, its closeness. As they move, it moves with them. When she wakes up in the morning, she realizes the moon has decided to visit.
Like an invitation waiting to be answered, suspended like a giant ball, it hangs barely above the ground in their backyard. Her parents stare in disbelief at the unlikely guest. Boosted up by her Dad and with her Mom's request to keep warm, she explores the nooks and crannies of this celestial body.
Morning does not arrive. In a dreamlike state the townspeople leave for work, the children enter their classrooms at school. Only the moon shines in the inky blackness. The community is wrapped in enchantment by its residence at the girl's home.
A befuddled teacher dismisses her students. People stumble, mumble and yawn. At home her parents are trying, without luck, to disguise the moon by covering it with blankets.
A full moon has a pull on the tides. A full moon beckons to neighborhood dogs. This full moon needs to follow again and listen to the words, words from an imaginative heart and mind, words from a girl who knows the moon's true place.
In case you doubt the power of words, doubt no more. Adam Rex weaves an intoxicating fabric with his narrative covering readers with the cozy blanket of belief, belief in a world where the moon leaves the sky descending to earth. His poetic, nearly alliterative, descriptions lull readers into its peaceful presence. Repetition of key phrases circles readers back to the beginning like the shape of the moon. Comments from the girl's parents bring gentle humor to the story. Here is a single passage.
It was chalky and cold.
I climbed into a crater.
"I'm going to have a look around."
Mom said, "Okay. Zip up your coat."
The soothing, soft black night of the front and back jacket permeate every page in this title. The large luminous orb on the front jacket and a smaller version, hanging above the treetops on a hill, on the back side, capture the essence of moon with the practiced eye of an faithful observer and skilled artist, Adam Rex. The all black matte-finished cover with Moonday embossed on the front and the opening and closing endpapers in black welcome readers into the wonders of this night.
The first four pages, the two title pages, provide an overview of the town, at the moon's rising and when it's high in the sky. Small vignettes surrounded by black, panels framed in darkness, breathtaking two page spreads filled with the moon's fullness, single pages edge to edge and those crossing the gutter combine to elevate the joy found in this magical marvel. No detail is too small.
A moon replaces the "o"s in the title. The publishing information is in the shape of a moon. My favorite illustration (I have many) is when the girl arrives home to find her parents climbing on the moon placing blankets on the surface to hide it; the light glowing through them as if they are shades on a lamp.
Moonday written and illustrated by Adam Rex will make you long for the night, for the next full moon. It's a stunning story to be read in hushed tones with a voice rising and falling to the rhythm of the narrative. It's meant to be shared. It's meant to be shared with someone you love.
Please follow the link to Adam Rex's website embedded in his name above. Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast has a post Featuring Adam Rex with lots of artwork from the book. Adam goes through the process he used in creating some of the illustrations. Here's a video Adam Rex featured on his blog and posted to YouTube.