Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moonwalk: Mouse and the Moon by M. Christine Butler

Little Harvest Mouse sleeps serenely in his nest beneath a grain field, secure under the deep blue sky and the watchful eye of his very own moon.

... but one evening a cold wind rustled through the fields and Little Harvest Mouse couldn't see his friend anymore.

"Someone's stealing the moon!" he shouted.
The other animals heed his alarm. "The moon is not in the pond where she always is!" quacked Duck. Mouse goes to look in the pond, and it's true! He sees no moon in the pond, only dark water.
Squirrel confirms the observation, but argues that the moon doesn't live in water; she lives up high in the branches of his tree. But when he looks up into the fir tree, and the moon is not there where he always sees it, he fears that the cold wind has blown it way. Rabbit claims that she was last with him on the mountain, but before they can finish blaming each other for losing the moon, a sudden thunderstorm strikes, flashing dangerously where the gentle moon should be.

"What will we do without her?" squeaked Mouse.

"Follow me!" shouted Rabbit.
Rabbit leads them all to a cozy cave, where they curl up together to ride out the storm, warm and dry, their disagreements forgotten.

But the summer storm soon passes, and when the four crawl out of their haven, the rain has stopped. And what do they see?

It was the moon. It glowed bright over the mountains,
Glittered through the trees, and shone in the pond.

"She never really left us," said Squirrel.
The four look around at their new-found friends and their old friend Moon right where she belongs

"Good friends never do."
Christine Butler's Mouse and the Moon
(Good Books, 2012) spins a simple fable of friendship found, with the moon in its heaven and all right with the world. Artist Tina McNaughton provides beautiful, full-bleed illustrations, with a glittering, silvery moon which benevolently bathes her woodland scenes with glowing light, and the overall effect is a dreamlike delight, tinged with gentle humor in the differing perspectives of the animals who find that they are indeed all friends under the same moon, however they see her. Fine bedtime fare, with a touch of lyricism that lingers like moonshine on the lake and through the trees.



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