cover image The Moon Shines Down

The Moon Shines Down

Margaret Wise Brown, , illus. by Linda Bleck. . Thomas Nelson, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-4003-1299-3

“Completed” by Thomas Nelson publisher Laura Minchew, this unfinished manuscript by the author of Goodnight Moon takes as its inspiration the nursery rhyme/child’s prayer “I See the Moon.” The result lacks the clean simplicity of image and rhythm of Brown’s best work. Unexceptionalverses describe how the moon shines on different countries and children (“I see the Moon and the Moon sees me,/ And the Moon sees the Dutch boy/ Far over the sea”) and how God blesses them all (“[And God bless] the little French children—oui, oui, oui, oui!”). A couple of verses about Christmas and the Christ Child, meanwhile, don’t fit the context of a world tour. Bleck’s playful paintings are a literal bright spot, with nearly every scene featuring a yellow full moon amid a purple-blue nighttime sky. She casts a koala bear as the narrator (which creates some continuity problems when the text touches down in Australia, but is otherwise fun). Happy children and sometimes smiling animals cavort around iconic symbols of the visited countries—windmills, Eiffel Tower, thatch roof cottage—lending a peaceful mood to the proceedings. Ages 3–8. (Nov.)