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The Boy and the Moon Review by Melissa Cummings

By James Christopher Carroll
Sleeping Bear Press
27500 Drake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

The Boy and the Moon is a delightful children's story, simply told and beautifully illustrated. In this first children's book written and illustrated by Jim Carroll, he describes his artwork as similar to collage, using mediums such as sand, tree bark, and hair. This is a very clever way to introduce a new style of artwork to a child, perhaps even using this book as a springboard for collage projects of your own.

The storyline follows a small child at midnight, going into the yard to howl at the moon and dance with creature-friends: an owl, a rabbit, a flower, a toad, a chicken, and a dog. The night of dancing and howling goes awry, however, when the moon gets stuck in a tree. It takes a stroke of courage from the boy to climb the tree and a lot of creativity to figure out how to get the moon out of the tree. Good character traits are seen in this little boy, as he exemplifies not only courage and creativity but also diligence and kindness.

The pages are large, full of color and texture, and brimming with detail. Mostly single-page artwork fills the book, but the occasional two-page layouts are truly the crowning achievement. They really draw the eye and grab a child's attention. Largely due to the collage method of artwork, there is great depth in each picture. The colors are muted, portraying midnight beautifully, with rare pops of red on the boy's pajamas, the tree's apples, and the flower's petals. A whimsical house reminds me that the boy is just outside his home, and I long to look inside to see where he lives--this boy who loves to howl at the moon at midnight.

The Boy and the Moon makes a great bedtime story for any age child, as well as a great discussion piece for art class. My toddler son loves the illustrations, especially the contrasts between light and darkness. I have no reservations about this book. The price tag of $15.00 seems a little high to me, but the quality of the pages really is superb. While it seems a bit expensive for such a short, simple story, the artwork is what gives the book its life--and artwork can definitely be worth the investment.

While I would not want The Boy and the Moon to encourage my child to run barefoot outside at midnight to howl at the moon and climb apple trees, the whimsy of the story and the incredible illustrations really make this a desirable book, fun to read over and over--which is exactly what my own boy likes to do.

Product review by Melissa Cummings, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC , October 2010