Friday, October 21, 2011

Driving in the Dark, Waiting for the Moon

I went to bookgroup the other night. We've been meeting for years, started at the bookstore and, after it closed, continue now at each others' homes and the last one was at Jennifer's house, off near Carkeek park. We read kid's books and have been meeting for maybe 15 years.

It was dark, and I never remember exactly where her house is. I pulled over to find the tiny directions that get me to her driveway, and saw something moving in the grass by the driveway. I turned the lights off and waited a second and then turned them on and there was a little raccoon popping up and down in the ditch, going into and out of the culvert under the driveway! It was sleek and seemed very young, venturing out into the dark, playing in the ditch.

It was absolutely adorable and reminded me very much of the little raccoon in Wait Until the Moon Is Full, one of the best books in the world. See that little raccoon on the cover there? The one looking out at the world? That's what the one in the ditch looked like.

This is a wonderful bedtime book for slightly older readers. It's a little more text heavy than some of Margaret Wise Brown's books so a 4 or 5 year old will appreciate it more than a toddler.

Every night the little raccoon asks if he can go out and play. He wonders if there is a rabbit in the moon, he wants to see the owl, and every night his mama says, "Wait. Wait until the moon is full". And when the moon is finally full, the little raccoon goes out and meets the owl and the rabbits and all the nighttime animals who live and play in his meadow.

A quiet, simple book like many of MGB's but one with more substance than others. It's a good one for leading into discussions of why we sometimes need to wait for things. There isn't a lot of obvious repetition but it still has a lullaby-ish, lulling rhythm to it, encouraging quiet reading, soothing a child into quieting rather than into sleep. If you haven't read it in a while, or if you are young enough that it wasn't on your radar until now, take a look at it and pore over the illustrations. Ages 5 and up. HarperCollins. $6.99. Available now (and forever!).

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