Sometimes there are books that I put on the shelves that I think to myself “I really need to read that one”. The Man in the Moon by William Joyce was just one of those books. What drew me to the book was the beautiful illustrations, something Joyce is famous for. You might be familiar with some of his other works like Dinosaur Bob and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (also an Academy Award winning short film). The Man in the Moon is the start of the Guardians of Childhood series that Joyce has been working on for almost twenty years and tells the story of the boy who would become Tsar Lunar, the Guardian who watches over the dreams of all the children of Earth.
You already know all of the Guardians of Childhood: Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny to name a few. However, did you know the very first Guardian was the Man in the Moon (MiM)?
Joyce tells the story of how MiM’s parents saved him during a battle with the evil Pitch, the King of Nightmares. MiM’s parents and his best friend, Nightlight, were all killed during the battle but their spirits remained in the stars. MiM was raised in the tunnels of the moon by the Moonbots, Moonmice and giant Glowworms. He had a great childhood, including meals of lunar ice cream and space juice nectarine.
As MiM got older he discovered Earth and the children that lived there. When the children of earth lost balloons they would float up to MiM and he could hear their hopes and dreams in the balloons. MiM got together with his friends, Santa Clause and the others, to bring joy to the children on earth. However, the one thing he could not change was that the children were still afraid of the dark. MiM then discovered Dreamsand on the surface of the moon and that by kicking over all the rocks the Dreamsand would glow and light up the moon.
Now that the moon was 100 times brighter the children of Earth could see the glowing face of the moon and know they were not alone in the dark.
“A fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairy-tale world. Dark. Mysterious. Stunning!” —Maurice Sendak, Caldecott-winning creator of Where The Wild Things Are
“William Joyce, to put it simply, is a genius, and we are lucky to have another book from him. The Man in the Moon is filled with tenderness, love, and enchantment. It’s an unforgettable story which will, I predict, take its rightful place in the hearts of children everywhere.” —Brian Selznick, author/illustrator of the Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret