Monday, November 24, 2008

Book Review: The Moon Shines Down

When my kids were younger, we used to read them books such as Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. There was something special about those stories. Their charm was in their simplicity and Ms. Brown’s ability to say so much with so few words. We’d read them so often that pretty soon we’d have the entire book memorized. No matter how many times we read them, our girls never got tired of them.

Fans of Ms. Brown’s work will be thrilled to learn that over fifty years after her untimely death, a once lost manuscript has now been published. The Moon Shines Down is based on the New England sampler prayer “God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me” and evokes memories of her earlier works. Reading the book for the first time, I was reminded of the many times that I had read her other books to my children. The cadence of the rhymes brought back memories similar to reuniting with a long lost friend.

Adding to the story’s charm are the wonderful illustrations by Linda Bleck. Like previous illustrators of Ms. Brown’s books (especially Clement Hurd, who illustrated both Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny), Ms. Bleck weaves into her illustrations numerous elements from the story which add to the impact of the text. The illustrations are bold and use bright colors which are sure to be of tremendous appeal to younger readers.

Any parent who either grew up with or has had children grow up with Ms. Brown’s books will be sure to be charmed by The Moon Shines Down. I am sure that it will soon be seen on bookshelves everywhere perched right next to her other classic bedtime stories.

312993: The Moon Shines DownThe Moon Shines Down

By Margaret Wise Brown / Thomas Nelson

The Moon Shines Down is a new bedtime picture book by renowned children's author Margaret Wise Brown. Based on the classic New England Sampler prayer, God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me, it uses poetic verses to follow a child praying for God's blessing on children in different parts of the world and themselves as the moon shines down on them all. Originally written many years ago, the manuscript was lost. When it was found, it was incomplete, but matching Margaret Wise Brown's distinctive writing style, it is now a complete bedtime picture book with a classical feel similar to the bestselling book Goodnight Moon. Recommended for ages 3 to 8.

The Story Behind the Lost Manuscript

The Moon Shines Down
from Margaret Wise Brown,
the Author of Goodnight Moon

The Moon Shines Down is being published for the first time fifty-six years after the death of the beloved children's author Margaret Wise Brown.

Amazingly, this unpublished manuscript lay forgotten in a cedar trunk in a Vermont barn. When it was discovered, the onionskin paper had yellowed and the paperclips that held the pages together had rusted.

Based on the New England sampler prayer, "God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me," this soon-to-be bedtime classic is a prayer for God's blessing on all the world's children. However, the manuscript was incomplete, too short for a standard size picture book. Children's book publisher, Laura Minchew, a longtime fan of Brown, took on the challenge to complete the work. Laura was able to match Margaret Wise Brown's writing style, capturing Brown's unique rhythms and rhyme schemes.

The wonderful result introduces a timeless Margaret Wise Brown book to delight a new generation of children the world over.

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