Thursday 6 December 2012

The Moon Shines Out of the Dark

The Moon Shines Out of the Dark by Stephanie Dowrick, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas
(Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74237-565-6
Reviewed by Ann Harth ( )

Harry loves the moon. He loves thinking about it and he loves looking at it. Once he asked his mum for a ladder long enough to reach the moon. “Will you hold the ladder steady while I climb?” he says. Mum promised.

Harry likes to know what’s going to happen. “It’s time to get up, Harry,” Mum says. “It’s time for the bus, Harry,” Mum says.

But Mum’s away. Harry goes to work with his dad and plays with his friends at school. It seems like Mum’s been away forever.

On this night, Harry’s room is dark. He hops from his bed and onto the cold floor. He and looks out the window. The moon hides behind thick clouds. Harry wishes he could pull them apart like curtains. The night is dark without the moon but as he watches, the clouds part and the moon shines out of the dark.

He hears footsteps and his bedroom door opens. Mum is hugging him and he is smiling. “It’s time to sleep now, Harry,” Mum says.

This book will appeal to children 4-8 and parents of all ages. Harry is a believable character and many children will be able to identify with his comfort in guidelines, his dreams of a ladder that reaches the moon and even his cold nose and feet as he stands in his dark bedroom.

The Moon Shines Out of the Dark is a gentle book about a little boy who misses his mum. The language is simple and clear and the combination of Stephanie Dowrick’s prose and Anne Spudvilas’ soothing and effective water colours will create a cocoon of warmth and safety around a child as he drops off to sleep. I highly recommend this book.

Bestselling author, Stephanie Dowrick is a spiritual activist and public speaker as well as an interfaith minister. Family and the quality of relationships are important to her and much of her writing illustrates this. She has written many books on spiritual and personal development. The Moon Shines Out of the Dark is the first picture book she has written for many years. For more information on Stephanie Dowrick, visit

Anne Spudvilas’ illustrations bring an additional element of warmth and tenderness to this story. Anne Spudvilas is an award-winning illustrator for children’s picture books as well as a courtroom artist for the Melbourne media. The Race was awarded the Crichton Award for Illustration and CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) Honour Book. Jenny Angel was chosen as CBCA Picture Book of the Year and was also shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Award. For more information on Anne Spudvilas visit

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is available from Amazon.

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