What You Need to Know:|
• Readers will learn how the Man in the Moon came to be the guardian of the children of Earth.
• This is the first in The Guardians of Childhood series.
• William Joyce’s success in children’s literature, television and film includes favorites like Santa Calls, George Shrinks,
Rolie Polie Olie, Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life.
• The sad story of how the Man in the Moon lost his home and his family, may be upsetting to some younger readers.
• Joyce also refers to other “Guardians of Childhood” like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
• A film, Rise of the Guardians based on the Guardians series, is due out in the fall of 2012.
While most kids have probably imagined the Man in the Moon, or at least looked for him at some point in time, they will probably feel a stronger bond with him after reading this story. MiM, as he is called in the book, starts out as an ordinary baby with loving parents and a special friend, named Nightlight, who watches over him. They live in a “Golden Age – a glorious time of hope and happiness and dreams that could come true.” They spend their days sailing peacefully among the planets in their ship, the Moon Clipper, and when MiM sleeps, Nightlight keeps away bad dreams. All that changes when, Pitch, the evil King of Nightmares, finds out that MiM is protected from nightmares. Pitch sails in “on waves of fear” to capture MiM and make him his Prince of Nightmares.
The Moon Clipper tries to hide near a “little blue and green planet”, known as Earth, but they can’t escape from Pitch. A battle ensues and while MiM survives, Nightlight and MiM’s parents are not so lucky. His parents become a constellation that can only be glimpsed from afar and Nightlight slips away as a shooting Star, remaining only in MiM’s good dreams. Despite his sadness and loss, MiM comes to enjoy his life on the moon and eventually discovers the children down on Earth. As their lost balloons travel up to the moon, MiM learns of their hopes and dreams. He finds ways to make them happy, like the man who makes them toys, the rabbit who makes them candy eggs, and the fairy who leaves them prizes under their pillows. The one thing he struggles with is how to help children who are afraid of the dark. He eventually finds a way to show the children that like the friendship he had with Nightlight, they too have someone to watch over them, a Guardian to keep them safe.
In just a few pages, Joyce creates an elaborate story that lays the groundwork for a powerful hero like Clark Kent in the Superman series. Readers get to know MiM and learn what makes him vulnerable and what makes him strong. While some parts of the story are sad and Pitch can be a little scary, the general message here is positive and uplifting. It leaves readers with a feeling of comfort, safety and hope for the future. The captivating illustrations bring the words to life and transport readers into MiM’s world. Almost every page is filled with color and action, and those that aren’t are even more dramatic because of their contrasting lack of color. Enjoy this story with readers young and old because children of all ages will relate to the Man in the Moon.
2011, 56 pages
Bedtime, Excellent Read-Aloud, Exquisite Illustrations, Folk Tales/Fables, Overcoming Fears
• Have you ever looked for the Man in the Moon? What did you see?
• Why was Nightlight so important to MiM?
• Are you ever afraid of the dark? Do you have a “Nightlight” in your life that makes you feel better?
• Do you ever have bad dreams? What do you do when that happens?
• Did this story make you feel happy, sad or both?
This recommendation was written by: