THE MOON AND I by Betsy Byars
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 9 & up
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An adroit blend of telling experiences from Byars's life and ingenuous confidences about her writing, linked by her friendship with a huge blacksnake ("Moon") that she first observed coiled on a porch beam at the log cabin where she writes--all recounted in the inimitably forthright, witty voice that has endeared her to readers of her 36 children's books. Flashing back to childhood encounters with snakes and to escapades like riding "the first skateboard in the history of the world" ("Bee told me to...Fortunately...we didn't know you were supposed to stand up...Otherwise I wouldn't be alive today"), Byars interpolates glimpses of herself as writer (in order of importance: characters, plot, setting, "good scraps"; "Most of the other things--like theme and mood--I don't think about"). There are nifty anecdotes (emboldened by curiosity, she picks up a dead snake on the road, then panics when the bag it's in crackles), slyly revealing how her mind works while also entertaining readers with hilarious conversations, outrageous details, and pithy lists (e.g., good scraps that later turned up in books: "a woman who made varmint stew"; "puce tennis shoes"). This ebullient self-portrait is so delightfully informal that it may seem artless; actually, the dovetailing of the several elements is extraordinarily skillful, the comments on writing as sage as they are succinct. A must. (Autobiography. 9+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0688137040
Page count: 96pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992


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