- Come Back, Moon by David Kherdian
The moon makes it too bright for Bear to sleep, so he steals the lighted sphere from the sky and hides it in a bag. The other animals—Fox, Crow, Skunk, Opossum, and Raccoon—wonder what has happened and seek out wise Owl for answers. Owl tells the critters about Bear’s theft, and the animals head off to Bear’s den to retrieve the moon. While Crow puts Bear to sleep by telling him a story, Fox sneaks the moon out of Bear’s bag and sets it back in the sky. The animals rejoice at the return of the moon—“All except Bear, who was happily sound asleep.” This simple, folkloric [End Page 220] story will easily engage young audiences, and Kherdian’s restrained prose works well as both a group readaloud and as a read-alone for novice readers. The theme makes it a fine partner for other moon-related folktales, such as McDermott’s Anansi the Spider (BCCB 7/72), as well. Unfortunately, Hogrogian’s watercolor and pencil illustrations are not quite up to par with the text, lacking the snap and vividness of her similarly set, Caldecott-winning One Fine Day (BCCB 11/71). While the subdued colors evoke the nighttime woodland setting, the compositions are somewhat muddy and the drafting often stiff and uncertain. The story is still effective, though, and it might especially work well as a beginning readers’ theater piece.