Friday 8 September 2023

The Day the Moon Came to Stay

The Day the Moon Came to Stay by Gary Eck & Nick O’Sullivan (Scholastic Australia) PB HB RRP $24.99 9781743834091

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Gary Eck is an accomplished actor, screenwriter, director, and stand-up comedian who is now a children’s author. His debut picture book Wake Up Sleepyhead is also illustrated by Nick O’Sullivan.

Billy’s friend the moon is sad, so Billy invites it to come stay. The moon doesn’t realise that by coming to Earth it turns things topsy-turvy. Moon discovers self-worth and decides that space might just be the place where it to belongs.

Gary Eck has written a fun, imaginary story that helps a child think and question things about the moon. Can a moon be sad? Can a moon be happy? Can a moon be … anything?

Billy is a thinker and his bright idea to invite the moon to stay is beautifully depicted with the wonderful use of strong verbs and great vocabulary. Twisted it. Bent it. Chewed it. Scrunched it. Skateboarded over it. Until he created… The Zoomer Boomer 3000!

The story world is child-appealing and reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are because it feels so believable and real to a child. The birth name of the moon is a mouthful and adds to the read-aloud aspect.

Children somehow feel smarter when they can say or learn long words. My birth name is Iggywiggy, Doodlewoodle Peepop Uggthwack Zootbah the third.

When Billy takes the moon to the beach, and they go swimming, Moon learns that it affects tides. I love the fun aspects in the story which are done well. The moment in the story when Billy wraps his arms around the moon, And what do I do? I’m just the moon is a heart-filled moment. It’s when Moon, with the help of Billy, starts to realise that Earth needs it. The themes of friendship and self-discovery are important, and this story showcases them beautifully. 

Nick O’Sullivan creates whimsical settings and delightfully exaggerates character features in this book. His choice of lots of blue for the night makes the visuals feel warm. The contrasts created with the moon glow are lovely. Billy’s blond hair is a great choice because it helps Billy shine in the moon glow. The illustrations have a softness that give that feeling of wonder and magic. When the moon is on Earth, the illustrations really come out to play. I love the double page spreads of the dogs howling and the astronauts landing and exploring the moon. And I laughed out loud at the yellow double page spread of cows jumping over the moon. The illustrations are imaginative and go very well with the text.

The Day the Moon Came to Stay is a wondrous picture book for children 3-8 years. The themes of friendship and self-discovery are important to children. This book is a fun read aloud and it also shares information about the moon. It is sure to appeal to children, parents, teachers, and librarians.

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