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The Year According to the Full Moon

by Michael McCurdy & illustrated by Michael McCurdy

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-618-00705-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

McCurdy’s (Iron Horses, 1999, etc.) signature scratchboard illustrations take on a hieratic power as he recounts a way of pacing the year far different from what’s familiar. He’s recreating the marking of time of the Algonquian tribes of northeast Canada and the United States before the coming of white settlers. To do so he places each full-page illustration facing a page of text describing the activities of the full moon: January is Hard Times Moon; February is Snow Blinder Moon, and so on. Both text and images are full of telling detail: for the Sap Moon in March, he describes the gathering and boiling down of maple sap into syrup, and illustrates the carefully folded birchbark buckets used to gather the sap. June is the Strawberry Moon, and the much-loved fruit is gathered both wild and cultivated. At the Ripening Moon in July, he describes the hard work of tending crops, and how shellfish are harvested—lobsters are only used as bait! By the November Beaver Moon, most families have left their summer wigwams to move deeper into the forest, or into inland valleys, seeking some protection from winter’s harshness. His language is simple, direct, and clear, and reads aloud well. Satisfying in many ways. (Introduction, bibliography.) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)