In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Moon Man, Moon Kitten

Dear Aunt Debbie,

I'm still plugging away at my grading, and on Monday there will be one more fabulous guest blogger, but tonight I'm giving the portfolios a rest in order to jump back into the conversation.  Your last post about moon books made me think immediately about two I love, one from my own childhood, and one newer.

Moon Man, by Tomi Ungerer, is a strange and wonderful book.  I haven't yet read it with Eleanor, but I remember reading it often as a kid, and loving the glowing quality of Ungerer's illustrations.  It's the story of the man in the moon, who loves to watch people on earth dancing, and one night hitches a ride on a comet and falls to earth.  Ungerer is fairly political -- the moon man's landing causes all kinds of trouble, and he's hunted down and put in jail for a little while, but eventually (through his waning-moon abilities) escapes, gets to dance, and gets back home.  So it's not for the youngest readers, but it's quite lovely.  I also remember adoring Ungerer's Crictor, about a friendly French boa constrictor, and Rufus, about a bat who falls in love with movies and turns himself briefly technicolor.  (Sadly, this one is out of print, though several of Ungerer's childrens' books have recently been reprinted.)

For younger kids, I'm back to Kevin Henkes and his book Kitten's First Full Moon.  The moon is full, and the kitten mistakes it for a bowl of milk, just too high to reach, then makes the same mistake with the moon's reflection in a lake.  It's a really sweet book (Jeff was surprised a few days ago to realize that Henkes is the same sarcastic man who wrote the Lilly books), and the black/white/gray drawings are luminous.

Then of course there's Thurber's Many Moons, which you've written about -- who knew there were so many lovely moon books?

We saw the full moon on the way home on Wednesday, by the way.  It made Isabel howl.

Love, Annie

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