Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Always An Ally

Day and night, if the sky is clear, it is there to be seen.  It is white against a brilliant blue sky in early evening or at morning's beginning.  Against the night's darkness, it glows white, golden yellow, orange and sometimes red, depending on the time of year, atmosphere or its location.  Shapes and sizes shift during its monthly cycle.

It is a constant companion to Earth and all living things on the planet.  Moon!: Earth's Best Friend (Henry Holt and Company, June 11, 2019) written by Moon (with Stacy McAnulty) and illustrated by Moon (and Stevie Lewis) is a lively, informative discussion by and about our natural satellite.  It's the third book in the Our Universe series; Earth!: My First 4.54 Billion Years (Henry Holt and Company, October 24, 2017) and Sun!: One In A Billion (Henry Holt and Company, October 23, 2018) are the first two titles.  What new fun, fantastic moon facts will we learn?

Look up.  Look up! LOOK UP!
It's me.  Moon!
I'm Earth's best friend.

Moon takes us back, back, back to the beginning.  When Earth was new, a huge rock (think planet size) crashed into us.  The debris from this collision, some 4.5 billion years ago, became Moon.    Twenty-seven point three days pass for Moon to circle Earth once and for Moon to spin around once.  Did you know we always see the same side of the moon?  Can you name the eight phases of the moon?

Moon is the only Moon but there are other moons attached to other planets.  Our moon ranks fifth in size.  Even though Earth and Moon are permanent pals, Earth is larger giving her a greater gravitational pull.  Moon averages about 238,855 miles from Earth.

Even at that distance Moon keeps Earth in balance and controls our high and low tides twice a day.  Moon has bragging rights in the entire universe about contact with humans . . . men.  Some footprints are still there, along with items left there by visitors.  Nail clippers?

During eclipses the Earth and Moon take turns hiding and shadowing.  Day and night determine the type of eclipse, solar or lunar.  One of the most important truths Moon wants us to remember is Moon is always there.  We can take comfort in this whether Moon is visible or not.

Moon's charming conversations through words with Stacy McAnulty focus on a friendship formed from nearly the beginning of Earth's existence.  As each virtue of Moon's contributions to this relationship is revealed, little asides define terminology.  Humor is evident as the narrative compares the weight of a cow on Earth to the weight of a cow on the moon and continues with a commentary about cows, nursery rhymes, jumping and the distance between the Earth and Moon.  Each cheery observation is presented with satisfaction and loyalty.  Here is a passage.

BFFs help each other out.

I keep Earth from being too wobbly.
This might be the most important thing I do,
and you probably didn't even know about it!  

When you look at the open dust jacket, one of the first things you notice is the happy disposition of Moon.  Placed in a starry sky, Moon is content and proud to be Earth's best friend.  To the left, on the back, the background continues.  Moon is waving at us from the lower, left-hand corner.  Above Moon text provides an introduction to the book.  Covers of the two previous titles with a starred review quote are also included.  Portions of the images and text are varnished.

On the open book case, the back, on the left, is identical.  On the front Moon is much closer.  A portion of her right side moves off the case.  Moon's left arm is raised toward Moon's smiling mouth.  The opening and closing endpapers are a pale dusty blue.  On the dedication page Stacy McAnulty, Stevie Lewis and Moon have statements.  Moon's appearance on the title page looks as though secrets are about to be shared.

Rendered using

colored pencils and digital tools

the illustrations by Stevie Lewis alternate between full-page and double-page pictures.  Regardless of their size, each element contributes to the sheer delight Moon conveys in telling us about the friendship with Earth.  If what we are told is less than happy news, an emotion is appropriately presented. Earth looks a little worried by all the man-made satellites zooming around her.  This is followed by Moon in three different positions around Earth chatting about facts while swirling colorful celebratory ribbons.

Readers will find that the images heighten the narrative.  In the portion about cows, nursery rhymes, jumping and distance, the humor of the words is depicted in multiple cows in space wearing helmets.  When showing how Earth would function without Moon's gravity, Earth looks like she's been on a merry-go-round too long.

One of my many favorite illustrations spans two pages.  Earth is centered on either side of the gutter in a starry sky.  Around Earth are the eight phases of Moon.  The text reads:

But you probably noticed I look different every night.
Fun, right?

Check out

For each phase Stevie Lewis gives Moon a new facial expression.  The phases are labeled, and one contains a fun fact.

This new entry in an engaging, entertaining and enlightening series, Moon!: Earth's Best Friend written by Moon (with Stacy McAnulty) and illustrated by Moon (and Stevie Lewis), is fabulous.  Moon's point of view in describing attributes of this perpetual union makes this book a stellar choice for a space, planet, Earth, Moon or bedtime themes.  I can't imagine a professional or personal collection without a copy of this title.  At the close of the book is a short author's note to Fellow Moon Gazers, a Two Truths and a Myth with Moon, Moon by the Numbers, All in a Name (different kinds of moons) and Sources.

To learn more about Stacy McAnulty and Stevie Lewis, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Stacy McAnulty has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  Stevie Lewis has accounts on Instagram and Tumblr.  I believe you will find this interview of Stevie Lewis on She Explores very interesting and also this one at 24 Carrot Writing.  At the publisher's website you can view interior images.

You'll want to take a few moments to view the other titles selected this week by participants in the 2019 Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge by visiting Kid Lit Frenzy hosted by educator, Alyson Beecher.

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