As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
Here you will find the books, music, and activities most useful to me in my endeavors.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bringing Down the Moon

author: Jonathan Emmett
illustrator: Vanessa Cabban

The first words of this delightful story, "Hot diggety!" Clearly, I am not one to refuse an expression exuding that type of enthusiasm. Just typing "hot diggety" makes me smile :)

This is the story of Mole who notices the beauty of the moon and sets out to "have it" for himself. While this may seem like a bit of a selfish endeavor, I get the impression that his motives are pure. And I know that his problem solving skills provide a great lesson in persistence. He tries jumping up, poking it with a stick, throwing something to knock it down, and climbing a tree to reach it. All of which, obviously fails, but a the mom of a toddler, I appreciate that he tries and comes up with clever things to try. There's a good message in that.

Along the way, Mole meets several friends - all of whom gently discourage him by saying, "You'll never do that; it's not as close as it looks." I appreciate that his friends are honest with this persistent little Mole. They don't tell him that he's being ridiculous; they just tell him the truth - bringing down the moon isn't possible because it's too far away (not to mention a few other scientific reasons related to physics and gravity and what-not - look at me trying to sound all Bill Nye!). This reason - the moon's distance - is valid and honest and repeated throughout.

Ultimately, Mole has a close encounter with what he believes to be the moon but is actually a reflection of the moon in a puddle. He is quite upset, but his friends all come to the rescue. The animals all agree that the moon is beautiful, but "it's not as close as it looks."

I also adore that each scene pays homage to onomatopoeia and alliteration, my two most favorite forms of figurative language. The author uses words like thumpety thump, swishety swish, and plinkety plink. When I read those words, my toddler can't help but smile - there's such an appeal!

Another aspect that drew me to this book are the illustrations. I love the work of Vanessa Cabban. No one draws animals in a more pleasing way. My toddler and I first fell in love with her gorgeous pictures in a book called Down in the Woods at Sleepytime, and I actually searched for other books she has illustrated. I found Bringing Down the Moon and Heaven is Having You. That's right, we have three of Vanessa Cabban books in our collection now.

The story is simple, sweet, and full of opportunities for discussion.
  • Talking about the moon and its place in night sky. NHV has been obsessed with the moon for a full 9 months now. When/if the clouds clear here in the NW, she is delighted to see it in the sky.
  • Making connections between the moon and and sun and stars - all sources of light. Is the moon bright?
  • Comparing the size of the moon to the stars in the sky around it. Notice how much bigger the moon looks than that star?
  • Recognizing that the moon is far away. Do you think you could touch the moon? Have your toddler reach to see. Try this from several different spots.
  • Trying to solve the problem. What could we try? Getting on daddy's shoulders? Walking toward it?

Do you own this book? Do you think this Is it a book your toddler would enjoy?

Most importantly, how might this book become teachable for you?

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