cover image MOONTHIEF


Roger McGough, , illus. by Penny Dann. . Houghton/ Kingfisher, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5481-7

This tale of courtship from a British team opens as two bears gaze up at the new moon. "I wonder what they did with the old one," Betty muses. Bobby reveals that it's in his honey cupboard, wrapped in silver paper and tied with pink ribbons—a gift for her. When Betty wonders what she could possibly do with an "old moon," Dann's spot illustrations depict the fruits of Bobby's imagination as he presents its possible uses. A view of the moon as a glassy globe that enlarges the fellow's face, with tiny fish swimming in front of him, illustrates Bobby's suggestion that Betty keep goldfish in it; in another, Bobby uses a more manageable-sized moon as a silver tray on which to serve Betty drinks, and in a full-bleed spread, the hero plays Frisbee with the moon. Betty offers several witty responses to his lively litany: "You can't teach an old moon new tricks," she quips after Bobby proposes that she train the moon to fetch her slippers. When she advises Bobby to put the moon back "where it belongs," her friend looks crestfallen until she informs him, "I don't want the moon, or the sun, or the stars"—only him. Dann's spare, spirited illustrations reinforce McGough's delectably farfetched premise; as Betty relaxes next to the moon-cum-swimming-pool, a sign announcing "Bettywood" appears on the hilltop. The childlike silliness of the artwork helps to balance the sweetness of the romance, making for a satisfying concoction. Ages 2-5. (Apr.)