Kirkus Reviews QR Code
I KNOW THE MOON by Stephen Axel Anderson


by Stephen Axel Anderson & illustrated by Greg Couch

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23425-X
Publisher: Philomel

A fox, a moth, an owl, a mouse, and a frog—night creatures all—fight with each other over their definitions of the moon. The fox says it’s “a rabbit, swift and large and glowing;” the moth that it’s a big cocoon “where moths of legend are born;” the owl that it’s “a window in a midnight room;” the mouse that it’s “a seed in endless bloom;” and the frog that it’s “a lily pad for froggy croons.” To settle their quarrel, they visit the Man of Science, who lives “alone with his thoughts in a tower high enough to almost touch the moon.” The Man of Science reads to them from a “squarish book,” but the animals do not find the moon in its inky pages, and return sadly home, each holding to his or her own definition. The fox speaks for all of them when he says, “The Man says it’s made of letters—I know it’s more the spaces in between.” The concepts and vocabulary in this sometimes disconcertingly rhyming text are overly abstract, complex, and metaphorical for the audience of three- to seven-year-olds for whom the book and its illustrations are targeted, although there may somewhere be a five-year-old with a philosophical bent to whom the book will appeal. The illustrations, too, convey mixed messages with their combination of bold and sophisticated colors and patterns and their comically caricatured animals. The white words on black backgrounds are placed to the far left or right of each opening, leaving no room for them to be spaced in lines that reflect their rhythmic patterns. Well-intentioned text—but it misses its mark. (Picture book. 3-7)