Review: The Moon Inside by Sandra V. Feder, illus. Aimée Sicuro
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press. Thank you!
Publication: September 1, 2016 by Groundwood Books
Yellow is Ella’s favorite color — she loves the bright, sunny daytime. But every night, as darkness falls, she becomes afraid. Her mother encourages her to look at the soft glow of the moon and fireflies dancing in the night. Ella listens to the chirping of crickets and the gentle rustling of the wind as she gradually realizes that nighttime can be something to look forward to rather than something to fear.
With sweet, luminous illustrations by Aimée Sicuro, this story will inspire parents and children to welcome the peaceful nature of nighttime into their homes and hearts.
Every night, when the dark entered the house, traveling slowly down the walls and over the floors, Ella grew afraid.
I remember being utterly terrified of the dark as a child- scared by the nighttime, by the lack of sunshine, by vivid nightmares and of being preoccupied with the absence of light. While I cannot recall a specific book that helped calm my fears as a child, I do remember that just having my parents gently singing and reading to me acted as a kind of salve. Since my foray into studying children’s literature and children’s librarianship, I have been interested in delving into picture books about nighttime, or picture books about fears of the dark- books that approach and take on those universal fears and attempt to ease the young reader. The Moon Inside by Sandra V. Feder and Aimée Sicuro is a reflective, quiet and gorgeously written and illustrated title; a definite standout picture book to add to the genre of reads about the nighttime.
Through the narrative of one young girl’s fears of the dark and nighttime- and her mother’s patient steps to assuage those fears- readers are taken on a richly illustrated, thoughtfully written journey. The young main character of the story, Ella, just loves the colour yellow and, in turn, loves the sun. And so every night, when dusk starts to settle and the sun begins to leave- as “the sun belongs to the daytime”- Ella becomes scared. After Ella’s mom encourages time spent outside on the porch, listening, watching and noticing things that come alive and unhidden as the moon appears, Ella begins to appreciate the golden, quiet moon.
Along with The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, Flashlight by Lizi Boyd, and Emma Yarlett’s Orion and the Dark, The Moon Inside is now up high on my list of nighttime favourites. Visually striking, with a gloriously rich colour palette that shifts from the light and sunny to the dark, deep and luminescent, Sicuro’s illustrations are incredible here- a perfect fit to highlight Feder’s text. Feder’s text is lovely and so elegant here; giving the time and space for Ella to express her genuine, understandable fears, while allowing and giving time for a believable, satisfying turn of emotions. The Moon Inside is, overall, a beautiful read- an anytime read, of course, but also perfect for nighttime rumination.
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.