cover image Moon Tales: Myths of the Moon from Around the World

Moon Tales: Myths of the Moon from Around the World

Rina Singh, Author, Debbie Lush, Illustrator Bloomsbury Publishing PLC $25 (80p) ISBN 978-0-7475-4112-7

The moon assumes various roles and guises in this competent collection of 10 stories originating from various cultures. Given a personality and a voice in many of the narratives, this celestial body is consistently portrayed as a benevolent being. Some of the selections feature familiar themes or characters: in one of the most amusing entries, a sliver of Jewish folklore, the foolish people of Chelm try to capture the moon by trapping its reflection in a bucket of water; and in a West African story, ""Anansi,"" the part-spider and part-man title character throws into the sky a ball that becomes the moon. Though the prose is sometimes uninspired (when a chief offers his daughter to Anansi's son in marriage, ""Anansi was pleasantly surprised. The girl was pretty. So he agreed and the celebrations lasted many days""), those who enjoy pourquoi tales will appreciate several legends and myths that playfully explain such phenomena as the marks and shadings on the surface of the moon or its sequence of waxing and waning. Lush's vividly hued, fittingly luminous paintings assume a variety of shapes and sizes and incorporate elements from each culture, yet her artwork as a whole provides a consistent texture and perspective. The full-page scenes, narrow borders and spot art, rendered in an appealingly na ve style, conveys the setting and tone of each tale. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)