cover image Little Moon Dog

Little Moon Dog

Helen Ward, , illus. by Wayne Anderson. . Dutton, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-47727-3

The team behind The Tin Forest delivers another otherworldly tale with a magical bent and a moral. Mischievous fairies, paying their yearly visit to the moon to plunder its gardens and beaches for "sticky moon candy," entice Little Moon Dog away from the Man in the Moon, a bespectacled, long-haired, elderly gentleman in checked slippers. "They taught him to pinch plums and drop them down the chimney, and to chase moonmoths across the starry sky." The furry fellow soon becomes the fairies' toy-du-jour. Anderson's surreal landscapes include lunar seas and elaborate sandcastles and, on the fairies' "nearby planet," verdant flora. The whimsical illustrations take on a quirky edge; impish pixies with bulbous noses and dewy eyes wear crazed expressions on their oversize faces, and fly to the moon aboard a double-decker jalopy of a bus. However, a soft pastel palette and the luminescent sheen that veils each spread confer an enchanting, peaceful tone. Especially heartwarming are the golden-hued scenes of the moon's wizened caretaker and his furry companion. After Little Moon Dog's troublemaking friends take him back to their planet (and soon tire of him), the Man in the Moon devises a pedal-powered flying contraption and brings his beloved canine home. Ward's lyrical, often alliterative writing ("They poked holes in the rhumoonbarb and unwound the moonbeans from their canes") will likely appeal to most readers, as will the book's tried-and-true theme about the nature of genuine friendship, set against a stellar backdrop. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)