Fifth in a series, this children’s chapter book finds practical and fanciful ways to promote environmentalism.
Jackson, nearly 11, came back to Earth about a year ago with his mother and sister from their dying world. Tara, a girl from Earth his age, found a magic portal and led them to safety as predicted by Magic Moon, who grants certain requests and gives advice. In Magic Moon’s new world, he helped young Farni, who was being bullied—no more, thanks in part to the protection of Brown Bear. Now, though, Brown Bear is in danger, his kind almost extinct. Magic Moon suggests using an upcoming solar eclipse to get the villagers’ attention and demonstrate Brown Bear’s harmlessness. On Earth, Jackson looks forward to going with Tara and her family to Bears Ears National Monument—but is saddened to learn that the government plans to discontinue many protections for the area. He decides to get signatures on a petition and send it to his representative. On an exciting ride in Tara’s grandfather’s helicopter, also during a solar eclipse, the families fly through another magic portal to Farni’s world, which Magic Moon says can be another home for endangered species like grizzlies. In both worlds, children learn that they can make a difference. Moulton (Magic Moon: A New Beginning [Vol. 4], 2017, etc.) employs humor and the appeal of magic to enliven her protect-the-environment message. The idea of a Noah’s Ark planet where endangered species can safely live also has a lot of appeal. Dialogue reveals character well; for example, the children speak casually, while the scientists on Farni’s world use a stuffier register—an amusing contrast to Magic Moon’s directness. For example, after Magic Moon booms, “I’m right here!” the scientists reply with “It speaks!...What manner of being is this?” The overall story unfolds via short chapters that alternate between worlds, and it can be hard to follow the separate plotlines, which tend to get lost in all the detail about, for example, proper viewing equipment for the eclipse.
Uneven but could get kids thinking about ways to safeguard the environment.