“Sun and Moon” by Lindsey Yankey presents a variation on the old adage that the grass always appears to be greener on the other side of the fence. Adorned with boldly colored and richly detailed illustrations, it is a lovely story about learning to appreciate the beauty that is already all around you.
The moon has spent his lifetime in the dark and he feels as though his world is too often lonely and boring. He imagines all the dazzling things that the sun must see on his journeys across the sky, and he wishes that for just one day he could trade places with his daytime counterpart. The sun agrees, but with two conditions: the trade will be irrevocable, and before he makes his decision, the moon “…must spend an entire night in the sky looking very closely at the earth – closer than (he) ever has before.”
The moon is thrilled and agrees to the sun’s conditions, expecting that he will see nothing from his place in the night sky that will change his mind. Instead, he observes (or rediscovers) in his midnight world all manner of enchanting scenes that would never present themselves in the daylight. He watches the “vibrant life of a nighttime carnival”, foxes heading out to hunt, children dreaming, a family of raccoons on the prowl, and booming fireworks that remind him of wildflowers he has only ever seen in his dreams. Perhaps most moving, however, is his sudden appreciation of the stars: “he hadn’t paid much attention to (them) before, but now they were all around him, so near he could even hear them smile.” By the end of the tale, the moon has learned his lesson. He wishes “for nothing more than to spend the rest of his nights enjoying the exciting and wonderful things that (come) to life in his moonlight.”
Based on what we have learned so far this year about the process of getting a book published, I am especially impressed at writers who are their own illustrators. The two jobs are difficult enough on their own, but Ms. Yankey has managed to do both, to great effect. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is an endearing parable, with imagery and artwork that effectively convey an appreciation for the tranquil beauty of the moon’s nighttime world.