Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: The Moon Shines Down

This is my first book review as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blog program. It's an illustrated children's book called The Moon Shines Down. The book is an expansion of an unfinished manuscript by Margaret Wise Brown, author of the classic Goodnight Moon. I'm unqualified to perform textual criticism to determine which parts Brown wrote and which parts Minchew the expander wrote since I am unfamiliar with most of Brown's many books (except for Goodnight Moon.)

The book is based on the New England sampler prayer, "God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me." The book is one long prayer asking for God's blessing upon all the children of the world. I read the book to my two boys twice. One is four and the other is two. We all enjoyed the book.

The illustrations are nice. They look more modern than the old Goodnight Moon illustrations but they don't have that goofy cartoonish look that so many children's books have. There's plenty of detail and objects from the prayer to pick out. There was one strange looking lion with a white beard that I didn't quite understand.

I enjoyed most of the poetry but some parts were better than others. I've gotten used to reading Dr. Seuss books and I suppose it's easier for Dr. Seuss to rhyme when he makes up a lot of his words.

For example, the following works very well:

The Moon shines down and sheds its beams
On a house with a stork where a Dutch boy dreams
Of tulip fields by quiet streams
In his flat Dutch land of cheese and creams

The following doesn't work so well:

I see the Moon
And the Moon sees me,
And the Moon sees the kids in Mexico.
God bless the Moon
And God bless me,
And God bless the Toucan with her funny nose.

I was concerned that there might not be anything particularly Christian about the prayer, but the Christ child does make an appearance as well as Christmas. It wasn't my favorite children's book of all time but I did enjoy it and I think I like it better than Goodnight Moon.

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