The Man in the Moon tells the story of MiM – the eponymous Man in the Moon – who lives with his parents on the Moon Clipper, a ship that is designed to turn into a moon at night and sails from one planet to another during the day. MiM is protected by his friend, Nightlight, who watches over him while he sleeps to keep him safe from nightmares.
But Pitch, the King of Nightmares, cannot abide the thought of a boy, who has never had a nightmare and he vows to make MiM a Prince of Nightmares. He attacks the ship when it is near Earth and, while hidden safely in the darkest tunnel of the ship, MiM hears a huge explosion. When he ventures out, he discovers that Nightlight, his parents, and Pitch have vanished. The Moon Clipper is now just a moon and unable to sail again. He is kept company by an assortment of creatures – Moonbots, Moonmice, giant Glowworms, Lunar Moths, and Starfish.
As MiM grows up on the moon, he collects all the balloons lost by children on Earth that float away into the sky (my favorite part!) and assembles magical creatures as Guardians to protect the children of Earth, including Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny. But, despite this, MiM remains troubled by their nightmares and thinks of a plan to help.
The combination of artistic techniques – acrylic paintings, pencil drawings, and old-fashioned prints of the moon and constellations – works very well. The Man in the Moon is a longer story than most picture books and is more appropriate for older children (young readers aged four to eight) and for reading at home, rather than as a book for a story time.
This is the first book in “The Guardians of Childhood” series and the series concept was recently made into a Dreamworks film with Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law. Envisioning the moon as a space-age shipwreck was delightful and the thinking that all our lost balloons are being collected and cared for by the man in the moon was a lovely addition. This is an imaginative story that manages to capture the wonder of childhood.
Check the WRL catalog for The Man in the Moon.