Emile, a white bear, is chosen by the village’s “night creatures” as the new moon keeper.
He gathers potential tools for the job: a net, a feather duster, a jar of fireflies, and more. He climbs a 93-step ladder into a sycamore tree, introducing himself to the full, luminous moon. Emile performs simple duties, blowing away clouds and shooing fruit bats that fly too close. “There isn’t a lot to do, but Emile finds the moon nice to talk to in the stillness of the night.” Gradually, Emile notices that the moon’s getting smaller. Alarmed, he consults a neighbor and cousin, who confirm his impressions. What to do? He offers food, then releases fireflies to share a riddle. “Emile giggles at the joke and sees that the moon is smiling, too.” With the moon thread-thin, a big green bird appears, reassuring Emile: “Things come and go—you’ll see.” (Sharp kids might observe the bird flying a circuit round the moon, disappearing behind, then emerging from, the orb’s shadowed surface.) Through the moonless night, Emile repeats the bird’s words until he falls asleep, awakening to a “new smile” that waxes to fill the sky again. Talented illustrator Zosienka’s pictures, made with colored pencil and opaque paints, employ inky blue-blacks and warm whites to depict bear, moon, and the night sky.
A charming addition to titles exploring the phenomenon of the moon’s phases. (Picture book. 4-7)