Monday, May 24, 2010

Bringing Down the Moon

Another moon book made its way into my pile of books to review and I thought that it would be fun to have it side by side with Kitten's First Full Moon. Bringing Down the Moon, written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, is similar in some ways to Henkes' book but there are more than enough difference to make this one another book that would make a perfect bedtime story.

Bringing Down the Moon follows Mole who burrows out of the ground one night to find the full moon hanging in the sky. It is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen and he decides that he wants it. He tries to jump to bring it down until Rabbit who sagely tells him that it's "not as close as is looks". Then he finds a stick and tries to poke it down until he runs into Hedgehog and she tells him the same thing. Then he starts throwing stones at the moon but hits Squirrel instead who also tells him that it's not as close as it looks. When Mole finally climbs a tree to grab the moon, he goes to far until the branch and falls down into a puddle. When he looks into the puddle he sees the reflection of the moon and tries to grab it. It ripples and at that moment a cloud goes over the moon. Mole begins to cry thinking he's broken it, until the other animals, hearing his cries, come to let him know that the moon is always in the sky and he can always look at it there.

I loved the repeated "It's not as close as it looks" which each animals says to Mole. At the end, as they all stare up at the big beautiful moon, Mole finally agrees with the statement and the story comes full circle. Jonathan Emmett plays with the language throughout the book making this a wonderful read-aloud. As Mole is jumping for the moon we hear "thumpety bump" and the stones make a plinkety plink when thrown. I loved the moment when Mole is explaining the troubles he has with the other animals. "'I'm all right,' sobbed Mole. 'But the moon isn't! I pulled it down, and then I broke it, and it was SO beautiful...and now I'll never see it again." I can just see a child saying the same thing while crying. The dialogue is just perfect with Mole playing the child, learning as he goes, and the other woodland creatures acting as the sage teachers and comforters. And of course the sweet ending will make everyone smile.

Vanessa Cabban's illustrations are simply beautiful. They are done in watercolor which gives everything a softer tone. She stays mostly with browns and blues and greens but the colors are subtle, creating the impression of nighttime. Where Henkes used black and white, the use of color makes this seems more child-like and softer. Most of the animals are brown like the dirt so Mole who is a purply-blue stands out even more clearly. He is adorable with his little snout and cute little hands and feet. All the animals are adorable. The images where Mole is up the tree and venturing out onto the branch has to be one of my favorites. Cabban portrays his cautiousness with a simple body pose. Beautiful illustrations, a cute story, and a sweet ending. A perfect bedtime story.

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