Friday, November 10, 2023

Books for Moon Gazers

I love watching the moon at night. Sometimes it's so bright I can see the shadows of trees on the ground. Other nights the moon is hidden, leaving the world in darkness (as it will be on Monday night). Here are two books that celebrate the moon and those of us who love basking in its light.
theme: moon, animals, nonfiction
Thank You, Moon: Celebrating Nature’s Nightlight
by Melissa Stewart; illus. by Jessica Lanan
48 pages; ages 3-7
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2023

Thank you, Moon, for being Earth’s constant companion in space and making life on our planet possible.

Each spread opens to a scene of a moonlit night, and large text offers thanks to the moon for providing night light to animals that use the moon to navigate, gather food, and hunt – and a surprising way a tree uses moonlight. A second layer of smaller text explains more about each scene, from gravity to animal life cycles to pollination.

What I like about this book: I like how the two layers of text provides different ways for readers to enjoy this book: reading the lyrical, large text as a bedtime story or reading the sidebar text for information. Back matter provides more information about how the moon lights up our night sky, and more about the animals and tree included in the book. I also love the illustrations, done in watercolors and colored pencil – they add to the nighttime mood of the book.
I had One Question for Melissa: How did you come to write this book as a Thank You to the moon?

Melissa: Hi Sue. Thanks so much for continuing to support STEAM TEAM authors in this way. All the credit for the idea behind this book goes to my editor, Katherine Harrison. In February 2020, she tagged me on Twitter, alerting me to a conversation about how animals respond to the Moon’s cycle, and asked “Is this something you’d potentially be interested in writing? I just can’t get enough of the moon these days, and I feel like you could bring something special to it.” She also included a beautiful, eerie, mysterious image of the Moon partially obscured by clouds. It was an irresistible invitation.

Melissa has a knack for writing about irresistible topics. Earlier this year I reviewed her book Whale Fall (you can find that review here). Melissa Stewart is a member of #STEAMTeam2023. You can find out more about her at her website,
While rummaging through my book basket I found another moon book – in fact, there are a whole bunch that have come out this year!

The Moon Tonight: Our Moon's Journey Around Earth
by Jung Chang-hoon; illus. by Jang Ho
36 pages; ages 3-7
‎Blue Dot Kids Press, 2023

The Sun sets below the horizon, and the Moon rises. Once the Sun disappears, the Moon lends its light to the dark.

A father and daughter explore their world as the moon moves through its phases. A waxing crescent moon rises early in the evening, while the quarter moon is seen higher in the sky, above the trees. After achieving fullness, the moon wanes until – there is no moon in sight! Every night the moon changes, cycling through its phases. But, the author says, “you can always see the same phase of the Moon at the same time in the same place.” This book has a more educational focus, including an activity and back matter explaining five things to know about the moon.

Beyond the Books:

Take a moon walk (without leaving the Earth). What other animals are out at night using the light of the moon?

Write your own Thank You letter to the moon. Or the stars, or trees, or something in nature that you feel thankful for.

Keep track of the Moon for a month. You probably know that the moon goes through phases, from full to half to … where did it go? Make a calendar for four weeks, and each night draw what the moon looks like to you. Do you notice any patterns in how the moon grows and shrinks? Where – and when – does the moon rise? Is it always in the same place? Is it always at the same time? Do you ever see it in the sky during the day?

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers and Blue Slip Media (Thank You Moon).


  1. I love Melissa's book and look forward to checking out the second one! Great activities, Sue.

    1. I do too. Thanks for dropping by, and have fun watching the new moon this week.

  2. I've been meaning to check out Melissa's book. It looks beautiful, and I'm a fan of layered text. That cover of The Moon Tonight feels magical, so I'll be adding another to my TBR pile. So many books!