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The Man in the Moon    by William Joyce Amazon.com order for
Man in the Moon
by William Joyce
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'Of course you know the Guardians of Childhood. You've known them since before you can remember and you'll know them till your memories are like twilight: Santa Claus, the Toothy Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, and the others,' writes William Joyce. 'But the very first one was the Man in the Moon.'

This is the story of the Man in the Moon or MiM for short. It begins when MiM is just an infant and traces his tumultuous childhood. Orphaned when his parents clash with the King of Nightmares, MiM is raised high in the heavens by a collection of Moonbots, Moonmice and giant Glowworms.

Eventually he discovers there are children on Earth just like him. 'His new friends on Earth were very far away, but their lost balloons often floated up to the moon. MiM found that if he held them to his ear, he could hear the hopes and dreams of the children who lost them.'

When he learned that the Earth children sometimes needed a toy, some sweets, or a sweet dream to cheer them up, MiM found a toy maker, rabbit and fairy, who would leave prizes under the youngsters' pillows, to volunteer to supply various goodies to brighten the little ones' days.

As he grew older MiM realized that 'growing up is a tricky business' and he also recalled how a former friend, Nightlight, would sing him lullabies and sprinkle Dreamland over him. As long as Nightlight kept watch over him, MIM was safe from nightmares and slept soundly.

It was then that MiM virtually stumbled on a way of not only making the moon brighter but also of assuring Earth children that they would be protected from scary dreams.

Along with those who shared the moon with him, MiM created the Guardians of Childhood. All took an oath to 'Watch over the children of Earth, guide them safely from ways of harm, keep happy their hearts, brave souls, and rosy cheeks. We will guard with our lives their hopes and dreams, for they are all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will ever be.'

From that point forward the night was never again as dark, for the glow of the moon filled the heavens above.

Children four years of age and older will enjoy this picture book. Filled with tenderness, love and enchantment, this is a story that is destined to become a children's classic.

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