105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: The Moon

Years ago, when my kids were little, we had a special nighttime activity. Every once in a while, after the girls were in their pajamas and ready for bed, I would pull them around the neighborhood in a wagon. It was a special treat to be outside when no one else was around and to see the world in the nighttime. It was dark, but we’d have flashlights and the stars and the moon.

Perhaps this memory is why I was so moved by The Moon, by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson.

Robert Stevenson’s poem is brought to life with the wonderful pictures of Tracey Campbell Pearson. She turns this poem into a story far beyond the words of the poem. In her book, the father wakes up the boy (or girl with short hair — it could go either way) and takes him out on a nighttime adventure. They say goodbye to mommy and the baby, but take the dog and cat along. They drive through the country to a dock, get on a boat, and go on a nighttime ride. You can imagine what a treat this would be for an older sibling to have a special trip with daddy after bedtime. Pearson has made each picture such a feast for the eyes, with incredible attention to detail and to the mood. Simply a lovely book.

And as a bonus for Poetry Friday readers, here’s the poem:
The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

— Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894). A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods. 1913
Use this book as inspiration for your own after-dark adventure with your child, children, nieces, or nephews. It would be nice to have a boat, but a wagon will do. Or even your shoulders. Full moon is optional.


Little Willow said...

That sounds like a special tradition. You really ought to put that into a novel - or, at the very least, a picture book.

Anonymous said...

Best thing about that poem? It teaches the proper pronouciatin of 'quay'.
I LIVED in an apartment building named Quayside.... said it "Qwayside" and was embarassed to learn years later how wrong I was.