Monday, October 01, 2007

I Took the Moon for a Walk

I Took The Moon for a Walk
written by Carolyn Curtis
illustrated by Alison Jay

Imagine a full bright moon, with elegant legs and arms, reaching down from the sky, holding your hands and walking with you under the night sky, exploring the favorite spots in your neighborhood...

The rich illustrations evokes a magical night world in this book, and, accompanied by rhythmic verse has become a bedtime must-read over the last few weeks in our house.
"I warned the Moon to rise a bit higher
so it wouldn't get hooked on a church's tall spire,
While the neighborhood dogs made a train-whistle choir
when I took the Moon for a walk."

Each verse ends with the same eight words very reliably and reassuringly that after the third read, when I pause at the right place, Ana completes the verse gleefully.

And, Alison Jay, the illustrator, cleverly hides a few details not mentioned in the verse which promptly becomes a treasure hunt once we hit upon it. For instance, during the above verse, the moon loses a red shoe presumably hitting against the church spire, which the boy then recovers in a subsequent page.

The cool night blues are very soothing in the illustrations, pitted against some warm earthy hues down below. The language is lush and lyrical as well. Ana loves to have me repeat the "rust-bellied robins", "train-whistle choir" and such phrases, which are a charming but challenging for her to repeat at this age...

I was attracted to this title as it is a Barefoot Books publication, but when I brought it home from the library initially, I was a little skeptical as I was not sure if it had more to offer than the delightful and dreamy illustrations. But, all that vanished within a couple of reads when the assonance in the prose makes it flow like a poem, simple yet elegant. The first verse:
"I took the moon for a walk last night,
it followed along like a still summer kite,
though there wasn't a string or a tail in sight*,
when I took the moon for a walk."
*high in the sky through darkness and light

caught me by surprise and didn't take long to grow on me (and Ana) so much so that I have had to request an extension so we don't have to return it to the library yet.

With 4-6 year olds, this book can lead into basic introduction to Nature, Science, Celestial Night Sky, and the more physical realities with the Moon Facts listed at the end of the book, while still preserving the imaginative and magical world personifying the moon through the motley illustrations that project the ethereal story of sorts.

For 2-4 year olds, where Ana falls, the illustrations are brilliant, and the verses are mellifluous and soothing. The illustrations tightly couple with the verse which make it easy for toddlers to follow along and improve their vocabulary: "Hand holding hand" shows the moon holding the boy's hand and willingly exploring... and it struck me that not too long ago was a full moon while Ana and I were driving home when she spotted it and joyfully noted that the moon is coming with us... until I had to make a turn and we missed the moon which made her wonder where did the moon go?

Bottom Line: Wonderful illustrations coupled with fluid and harmonic verse makes this a 4 bindi book for me.


sathish said...

the cover of the book looks very nice - I am greatly attracted to the illustration..

alison jay's illustration looks great.. a quick search on google gives some interesting pictures by her..

Anonymous said...

oh! K does exactly what Ana did few months ago - he looks for the moon everywhere (Actually he's been at this 'phase' for abt 6m now!) he'll love this book, I am sure.

the front cover is original and attractive.

Praba Ram said...

We are in the "moon phase" with S the last few weeks..She would love this one. Thanks, Sheela!

The other moon books we are reading to S are - Look, the Moon that Kodi's mom recommended as well. (Thank you KM! ) And Papa please get the moon for me by Eric Carle.
With K - it's Many Moons that's been a big hit now - a classic caldecott that I would highly recommend for the older kids ( 5 plus) Simply awesome! May be I should review it here sometime..:-)

Ok - that's a lot of moon talk.

Bye, and hope you all had a nice weekend!

Meera said...

I can't help but commenting on these beuatiful reviews. and I may be sounding repetative but I feel so happy to see the reviews of the books that my daughter loves and also, some reviews of the books which we don't have read yet. That gives us an opportunity to read more. This particular book also talks about all the moon shapes like full moon, new moon, gibbous moon, half moon etc and nocturnal creatures at the end. I think that has given new insight to my daughter.

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