cover image The Moon’s Almost Here

The Moon’s Almost Here

Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Tomie dePaola. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (32p) ISBN

It’s nearly time for the moon to rise, and all of nature knows what that means. “The moon’s almost here./ Mama duck drifts to shore,” writes Newbery Medalist MacLachlan in lullaby-like verse. “Ducklings swim after:/ One, two, three, and four.” On the porch of a house, a dog “curls in a ball/ And closes his eyes.” The sky gradually turns from light turquoise to lavender to deep navy, and the moon makes its much-heralded entrance in the final pages, a glowing white ball. Witnessing it all are two figures: a redheaded boy in an old-fashioned nightgown and an adult in a white clown outfit and white makeup. Adult readers may recognize the latter as the iconic pantomime character Pierrot, cast as a doting father (parents explaining this reference can use the opportunity to introduce another commedia character, Pulcinella, who partly inspired dePaola’s Strega Nona). DePaola’s openhearted, virtuosic artistry reveals a deep connection between the pair, with the boy often echoing his father’s theatrical miming gestures. Together, pictures and text establish their own reality—one that’s immensely reassuring. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (June)