I promise this blog won’t become completely devoted to children’s books just because I spend seventy-five percent of my reading time looking at picture books now, but I Took the Moon for a Walk is absolutely worth talking about. My mother picked it up from the library when we visited back in September, and we loved it so much that she ended up mailing us our very own copy. Since then, we have read it every day, initially several times (by choice!), although now it has settled happily into the rotation of before-bed books.
Every night, I find myself thrilled to pick it up again. The story is pure poetry, and in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was written as a poem initially and then stunningly illustrated as a bonus. The musicality is exceptional. Each line flows gracefully across the page, and because we’ve read it so often, both my husband and I can recite it by heart, giving us ample opportunity to study the pictures.
I know we wouldn’t read it nearly so much if our son didn’t love it as much as we do, but when we pull it out, he leans forward and studies each page intently. He’s only ready for the next page when he turns away, usually studying the illustrations for a minute or two (a long time for a five month old’s attention span). While I certainly try to read him books that I enjoy as much as he does, this one delighted both of us so much from the very first reading that I can’t imagine a day when we don’t want to look at it (although inevitably, time will sneak up on us and that will happen).
When my husband read it for the first time, he said to me, “Why can’t all children’s books be like this? Look at the vocabulary he’s learning! The meter! The rhyme!” Incidentally, he had just been lamenting the fact that too many of the board books we owned seemed, in his words, “too basic and boring.” While I agree that some books written for children are so dull I would rather eat paste than read them repeatedly, I pointed out that for infants, even something “basic” was still, well, novel.
Books are windows into the world for young and old alike, and even though many trivial concepts (See Jane. See Jane run! Run, Jane, run!) seem obvious, for babies, it’s all brand new! That being said, I knew exactly what he really meant. A book like this is an elegant dessert rather than a poorly prepared side dish. It’s a treat, and I fully believe that our love for it encourages, even at such a young age, a special reverence for excellent books. And that is something I dearly want my child to understand.