Like many moms I spend time reading to my children most every day. Sometimes, we don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to what makes a good story. Being the dedicated parent that I am, I often find myself reading books that I hate over and over and over again to eager young listeners. But other times, a book comes along that our whole family enjoys. The Man in the Moon by William Joyce is one of those books. We received a complimentary copy for the purposes of writing a book review, and we all immediately fell in love.
The Man in the Moon is written for children ages four to eight years old, and I agree that it would appeal mostly to kids in that age range. It’s a picture book with vivid, sometimes dark, artwork, and a fairly complex and detailed story. It’s the kind of book that expands a child’s vocabulary, while taking them on a thrilling journey through an intricate world populated with fantastic creatures. My six-year-old is just about the perfect age to enjoy it, and my three-year-old isn’t quite there just yet.
The Premise of the Story
The Man in the Moon is the first book in a new series by William Joyce, called ‘The Guardians of Childhood’. The book tells the story of a little baby who lives on a beautiful ship called the Moon Clipper, that sails through space. At night, the large sail folds inside the ship, and the ship becomes a moon. The baby’s devoted friend Nightlight calls him the Man in the Moon, since his home is a moon. The gilded, Golden Age they’re living in can’t last, though, and soon the young Man in the Moon finds himself alone, living on the ship-turned-moon above the planet Earth.
The Man in the Moon sees that there are children down below who are sometimes afraid, and decides they need guardians to watch over them. He finds Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Mother Goose, and charges them with caring for the children of Earth. Their stirring oath includes these words:
We will watch over the children of Earth …
For they are all that we have, all that we are,
And all that we will ever be.
I defy you to get through that without tearing up, just a little.
About the Author
William Joyce, who wrote The Man in the Moon, has an impressive resume. His other picture books include George Shrinks, Dinosaur Bob, and Santa Calls. He’s won three Emmy awards for his Rolie Polie Olie animated series, and developed character concepts for Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. He’s co-directing the DreamWorks Animation release of Rise of the Guardians inspired by his new series. This is clearly one accomplished writer, and his talent shines through in this book, which is part fantasy adventure, part modern fairy tale, and part bedtime story.
Book Review: The Verdict
It’s probably already clear that I’m a big fan. This book has fast become a favourite for my daughter and I to read together. When I receive a book and I’m tasked with writing a book review, I’m never quite sure how the story is going to go over with my family. I’m happy to say that this one is a genuine hit, which makes my life so much easier.
You can buy The Man in the Moon online through Amazon or Chapters, or pretty much anywhere books are sold. I think it would make a fabulous Christmas gift for a school age child in your life.