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Friday, October 05, 2007

I Took the Moon for a Walk


I Took The Moon for a Walk

written by Carolyn Curtis

illustrated by Alison Jay

Imagine a full bright moon, with elegant legs and arms, reaching down from the sky, holding your hands and walking with you under the night sky, exploring the favorite spots in your neighborhood...

The rich illustrations evokes a magical night world in this book, and, accompanied by rhythmic verse has become a bedtime must-read over the last few weeks in our house.
"I warned the Moon to rise a bit higher
so it wouldn't get hooked on a church's tall spire,
While the neighborhood dogs made a train-whistle choir
when I took the Moon for a walk."

Each verse ends with the same eight words very reliably and reassuringly that after the third read, when I pause at the right place, Ana completes the verse gleefully.

And, Alison Jay, the illustrator, cleverly hides a few details not mentioned in the verse which promptly becomes a treasure hunt once we hit upon it. For instance, during the above verse, the moon loses a red shoe presumably hitting against the church spire, which the boy then recovers in a subsequent page.

The cool night blues are very soothing in the illustrations, pitted against some warm earthy hues down below. The language is lush and lyrical as well. Ana loves to have me repeat the "rust-bellied robins", "train-whistle choir" and such phrases, which are charming but challenging for her to repeat at this age...

I was attracted to this title as it is a Barefoot Books publication, but when I brought it home from the library initially, I was a little skeptical as I was not sure if it had more to offer than the delightful and dreamy illustrations. But, all that vanished within a couple of reads when the assonance in the prose makes it flow like a poem, simple yet elegant. The first verse:
"I took the moon for a walk last night,
it followed along like a still summer kite,
high in the sky through darkness and light,
when I took the moon for a walk."

caught me by surprise and didn't take long to grow on me (and Ana) so much so that I have had to request an extension so we don't have to return it to the library yet.

With 4-6 year olds, this book can lead into basic introduction to Nature, Science, Celestial Night Sky, and the more physical realities with the Moon Facts listed at the end of the book, while still preserving the imaginative and magical world personifying the moon through the motley illustrations that project the ethereal story of sorts.

For 2-4 year olds, where Ana falls, the illustrations are brilliant, and the verses are mellifluous and soothing. The illustrations tightly couple with the verse which make it easy for toddlers to follow along and improve their vocabulary: "Hand holding hand" shows the moon holding the boy's hand and willingly exploring... and it struck me that not too long ago was a full moon while Ana and I were driving home when she spotted it and joyfully noted that the moon is coming with us... until I had to make a turn and we missed the moon which made her wonder where did the moon go?

This review also available at Saffron Tree, a growing resource for Children's Books.

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