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The Moon Illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson



Written by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson

Farrar, Straus & Giroux Fall 2006
Hardcover ISBN 0-374-35046-9

2006 Booklist Editor's Choice,
Top of the List
2006 A School Library Journal
Book of the Year

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The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

So begins Robert Louis Stevenson's famous tribute to the moon. This night the moon shines not only on the creatures of the night, but also down upon a father and child. The moon watches over them every step of the way-- from when Dad wakes his son to take him outside, to their boat trip around a cove and back home again, where Mom, with the now-sleeping baby, welcomes them home from their journey.

Detailed, luminous watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the magic of nightime, and its many nocturnal creatures, as well as the special love between father and son.

I found this poem in my father's childhood copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. Get the inside story, early sketches and photos.

Who is Robert Louis Stevenson
More poems by Robert Louis Stevenson
Moon Facts

Moon & star crown
Silly moon poems
Coloring page

Moon Classroom Notes

*PreS-Gr. 1. Stevenson's famous 12-line poem, which begins "The moon has a face / like the clock in the hall," becomes the text of a picture-book depiction of the nighttime outing of a contemporary father and his child. Leaving Mother and Baby behind, they climb into a truck with the dog, the cat, and some provisions; travel to the dock; and take their boat across a cove and back again while they watch the places and creatures illuminated by the moon. The pictured journey creates a vivid, visual counterpoint to the poetry, which flows as magically as an incantation. Though inspired by the poem, the luminous ink-and-watercolor illustrations reflect Pearson's creative imagination and her sure sense of what is visually interesting to young children. Along with the many detailed pictures of the characters' expedi-tion, one double-page spread is a lovely panorama of the water and the surrounding landscape, with the moon floating above it all. Picture-book versions of "Block City," "My Shadow," and other poems drawn from Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses have entranced children over the years. This mesmerizing interpretation shows once again the timeless quality of the poet's verse. Jane Yolen's Owl Moon (1987), Amy Tan's The Moon Lady (1995), and Cynthia Rylant's Long Night Moon (2004) make excellent follow-ups or companions to this lovely book. -Carolyn Phelan

*PreS-K–"The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;/She shines on thieves on the garden wall,/On streets and fields/and harbour quays,…." Stevenson's poetic images might seem a bit puzzling to young listeners today, but they make perfect sense juxta-posed with this satisfying visual story of a nighttime boat ride. The full moon outside a family’s house parallels the round face of the tall clock as a small boy and his father prepare for the outing. Outside, raccoons are busy on the garden wall. Lots of homey detail in the line drawings washed in watercolor sketch in the busy home life as Mom in her bathrobe and slippers and a sleepy baby stay at home while the family dog and cat curl up in the back of the pickup truck to join the outing. The poetic lines unfold with the trip through the countryside, out on the lake, and eventually back home and into bed. The loving family, their energetic pets, the homey clutter, and the lush country-side at night convey a lovely bedtime story that concludes with the morning sun rising on a new day. Stevenson's lines fall pleasantly on the ear, and Pearson offers much to see on this moonlit night. The three stanzas of the poem appear together in reprise as the final page in a beautifully crafted interpretation that's sure to be widely enjoyed as family reading.
–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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