book report: The Moon Shines Down

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my favorite books to read to small children, especially at bedtime. My youngest just turned nine so those days are long gone in my household.
I enjoyed so much the rhythm, cadence, and meter of that book. It just rolled off the tongue. I recently received a “lost” book of Ms. Brown’s for review, titled The Moon Shines Down. The introduction states that this book is based on the New England sampler prayer,

I see the moon
and the moon sees me
The moon sees the somebody I'd like to see.
God bless the moon
and God bless me
God bless the somebody I'd like to see!

Unfortunately, the publisher felt the manuscript was “too short for a standard size picture book,” so they asked a fan of Ms. Brown’s to fill it out. The introduction continues that the supplemental author, Laura Minchew, was able to capture “Brown’s unique rhythms and rhyme schemes.” “Unique” is an adequate euphemism, because the rhythms and schemes are wooden and out of sync or rhyme. One example of odd rhyme is “And the Moon sees the kids in Mexico/….//And God bless the Toucan and her funny nose.” That one hurts.

The flow of the story is stilted. It seems to go from children in foreign countries, to animals in Australia, to Christmas, to the sea. I didn’t see a progression. Perhaps there was a reason Ms. Brown "lost" the manuscript.

The pictures are nice, and I’m sure a small child would enjoy pointing at the creatures and people in the pictures, but the parent who has to read the same story over and over again will make sure this book finds an out of reach spot on the bookshelf.

I have one offense with this book. The rhyme reads “And all the children in every country— / In Australia, Norway, and Italy,/ Africa,….” Africa is a continent, not a country. We don’t want our children someday to be accused of not knowing that important fact.

Unfortunately, I have to give this book a thumbs down.


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