Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fool Moon Rising

It's been quite a while since a Christian picture book got me so excited I couldn't wait to write a review of the book, but such is the case with Kristi and T. Lively Fluharty's Fool Moon Rising.

The book begins by quoting 1 Corinthians 4:7, which points out that everything we have is something God has given us. Then we see a young boy staring up at the night sky. He asks God if a certain story he's heard is true. The moon, he says, once bragged every night that he could bring light to the dark night sky; he pompously sang only songs about himself (like "Moon River" and "Blue Moon"), took pride in his ability to transform from a round orb to a sliver, delighted in the thought that astronauts "danced across his face" and that he caused the great oceans to rise and swell. "I am the greatest light!" he bragged to the universe.
"Until one day a piercing ray
Showed him a shocking sight.
He saw his pride and then he cried
For all that he had done.
For he had lied when he denied
His light came from the Sun."
Then, the young boy concludes, the moon fully admitted he was just reflecting the Sun's glory - and the boy prays that every day and in everything he does he will make much of God, not himself.

The last page of the book offers a few discussion questions, illustrations of some amazing sights in space (including the X Structure at the Core of the Whirlpool Galaxy), and some fun facts about space.

What I Like: First, the illustrations in this book are nothing less than outstanding. T. Lively Fluharty's artwork is not only rich and detailed, but it's just plain fun. My four year old (who happens to love everything space related) laughed out loud at these illustrations: We see a cheesy moon, clearly full of himself, surrounded by animals and planets that find him perfectly annoying. On the page where the moon sings, the he also plays a guitar and has a cow jumping over him. Later, we see astronauts in ballet shoes and tutus "dancing" on the moon, as well as monkeys in space suits trying to eat bananas through their helmets.

Second, the message here is not only terrific, but the moon and how it reflects the light of the sun are a great way to explain how we can reflect Christ's light.

What I Dislike: The rhyming text in this book is okay - it's neither bad nor great. Given the terrific nature of both this book's illustrations and its premise, I would have loved to seen a stronger writer tackle this tale.

I also wish that instead of devoting the last two pages of the book to miscellaneous facts about space, the author had instead spent at least a little room explaining how the moon really does reflect the sun, how it waxes and wanes, how it affects the tides, etc. As it is, all this is spoken of as if the readers already understand these concepts, so I spent a bit of time explaining them to my preschooler.

Overall Rating: Despite these flaws, Fool Moon Rising is exceptional. My four year old asks me to read it to her over and over again, and I give it a rating of Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8.
Publishing Info: Crossway, 2009; ISBN: 9978-1433506826; hardback, $14.99
Buy Now at for $11,99
OR buy at for $10.19
Special Info: Visit the book's website for a glimpse at the artwork, and download related screensavers and wallpaper.

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