A child’s fascination (and frustration) with a seemingly lonely, incomplete half-moon leads to a lunar surprise and friendship.
The unnamed child narrator of this series of rhyming couplets has decided that the half-moon can’t be happy. The bear-suit–clad white child first offers gifts to impress it, then yells up in anger at its indifference, trying to explain to it the wonder of being the moon. Some of it is lovely (the moon is “the reason that dogs and wolves howl”), other bits not so much, the result of trying to shoehorn words such as “balk” and “fondue” into the rhyme scheme. In parts, the story gets into the narrator’s mind, but in sum, it seems like a story that doesn’t know if it wants to be a wacky escalation of the things the child will do to get the half-moon’s attention or a simple meditation on its stunning beauty when it appears in full. The illustrations, with deep blues, greens, and blacks against a simple, chalky yellow moon, split the difference, acting as a moody but appropriately wistful accompaniment to the sometimes-draggy text. They also introduce a subtextual story in the form of a bunny-suit–clad child of color who watches the narrator’s antics and eventually offers friendship. Like the text, it is sweet but also feels forced.
For caregivers of kids with brief, harmless fixations the story will ring true—but for little readers, some real nighttime moon spotting may be even better. (Picture book. 4-8)