Written and Illustrated by James Christopher Carroll
Sleeping Bear Press, 2010
It was midnight when the dancing and the howling began.
The plot in a nutshell: A boy and his animal friends give the moon an assist
A boy comes outside at midnight in his pajamas to howl at the moon with some animal friends. Then the moon gets stuck in a tree. Everyone stops howling and then they realize they need to save the moon. The dog tries to help, but can’t climb the tree. The boy can, however, so he climbs the tree (in spite of being afraid), and he tries to push the moon free, with no success. Instead, he picks the tree’s apples and starts feeding them to the moon. When the moon has eaten all the apples, she becomes a full moon and rolls out of the tree, back into the sky. The friends go back to howling and dancing.
This is the first (and, so far, the only) picture book from author/illustrator James Christopher Carroll. The story has a very magical quality to it and the ethereal artwork only serves to add to the story’s enchantment. Part of the reason for this is that the story takes place entirely at night and the artwork features dark backgrounds with subjects that are luminescent, giving you the impression that you are seeing something that you’re not meant to see. I liked the story’s very simple concept and its creative ‘plausible impossible’ resolution and I found most of the artwork really beautiful. But I have to come clean and say that in a few of the pictures, some of the animals (and especially that flower with a face) come across as more than a little creepy or menacing. That’s the only element of this book that just didn’t work for me.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that, when something important is worth doing, you can usually find a way to get it done.