The Moon Keeper

HarperCollins/Harper. Mar. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062959522.
PreS-Gr 1–Emile, a polar bear, is entrusted by a group of other animals to be the new moon keeper (no mention is made of the previous occupant of this job). He gathers numerous supplies and climbs a tall ladder up a sycamore tree where he introduces himself to his new charge. He uses a vacuum cleaner to clear away stray clouds, shoos away some bats, but mostly just talks to the moon. Over several nights, Emile realizes that the moon is getting smaller. Alarmed, the bear tries to cheer it up by telling jokes, but the moon still wanes. Emile tells a passing bird that he’s “lost the moon.” The bird demonstrates that just because something cannot be observed, it doesn’t mean it has disappeared. “Things come and go—you’ll see.” The next night, the moon reappears and waxes until it becomes full; relieved Emile blows it a kiss. Zosienka’s delicate gouache and color pencil spreads feature appealing anthropomorphized animals living in houses but not wearing any clothes.
VERDICT A wonderfully whimsical story that would have benefited from additional explanation of moon phases, but one that should still appeal to little fans of other lunar titles such as Jami Gigot’s Mae and the Moon or Eric Carle’s classic Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.

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