Summary: A sleepy little girl looks out her window one night and wishes she “could do exactly nothing,” just like the moon. The smiling, anthropomorphic moon kindly responds by listing all the things the little girl would actually do if she were the moon.
The moon describes the many things the moon can do using a lyrical list such as “Spin like a twilight ballerina...Play dodgeball with space rocks...or Be a bright alarm clock to wake the night." The author’s adept use of figurative language (simile, personification, & metaphor) creates strong visual imagery for the reader and/or listener. This alone will certainly make teachers break into a happy dance.
But there’s so much more. The book is uniquely formatted so that each “lyrical page” alternates with an informational (nonfiction) page. For instance, the page which reads the moon can “Spin like a twilight ballerina,” is followed by an informational page providing interesting facts about the moon’s ability to spin on an invisible axis. Oh, sooo clever.
An impressive amount of science content is included, covering such topics as how the moon was formed, different phases of the moon, and the important reciprocal relationship between the Earth and the moon. With the current emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) topics in education, this title is a dream. Not all informational non-fiction needs to look like a Seymour Simon book.
Because of its unique format, this title actually has a great deal of flexibility built into it and can be read multiple ways. The lyrical pages can be read independently of the informational pages. Conversely, the informational pages can be read independently of the lyrical pages. Of course, the text can be read exactly as presented, alternating between the two, making it a natural for shared reading.
A fun, childlike font dances across the lyrical pages, while straight lines of a smaller, cleaner font enclosed in brackets display the text on the informational pages. The different font treatment is just another visual way to clearly delineate between the narrative and expository pages.
Certainly this picture book is an obvious choice for enhancing moon or space themed studies, but the strong relationship presented between the moon and the Earth also makes this a stellar mentor text for celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd.
As if all the planets aligned perfectly, April also just happens to be National Poetry Month. (Did I mention this text is loaded with figurative language?) Like most teachers, I love a title which can multitask.
The book illustrations by Jaime Kim are truly gorgeous and strike just the right mood to accompany the text. The contrast of the light moon against the darkness of space could have been cold, however the beautifully executed illustrations are nothing but comforting. In fact, I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking of that sweet smiling moon and her Mother Earth.
It didn't surprise me to learn that Laura Purdie Salas is a former teacher. She’s written well over one hundred children’s books, and she’s an author who clearly thinks like a teacher. Her books are often the definition of a good mentor text as they often help teach and inform, but in the most engaging way possible.
This is a well-written, genre-spanning picture book, and I have no doubt children, parents, and teachers will be “over the moon” for this highly versatile mentor text. It’s such an easy one to recommend.
I received an advanced digital galley copy of If You Were the Moon from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Personally, I'm only willing to take the time to write review for a book I actually really like, but there you go. I like this book. A lot. In fact, when it’s available, I plan to be first in line to buy my physical copy. My daughter, Chelsea, is currently home from college on winter break and read my digital copy. She also fell in love with it and wants her own. So...it looks like I'll actually be buying two copies when the book becomes available on March 1st. :)