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Nonfiction Monday: A Full Moon is Rising – poems by Marilyn Singer and pictures by Julia Cairns

This is a book that I requested from Lee & Low Books, Inc. through Netgalley which we have just recently joined. I thought it would be perfect for our Nonfiction Monday contribution which we are also hosting this week.

The book begins with a very brief and readable description of the Northern/Southern Hemisphere and how it affects the phases of the moon. It also essentially sets the tone for the whole book whereby it was shown that people all around the world are moved differently by the changing of the moon and the tides. The author’s sources as found in the second page of the book are quite varied ranging from moon astronomy and superstition to lunar festivals, lunar eclipse and moon illusions to coral spawning and bird migration among others. I love thoroughly-well-researched materials.

A Lunar Trek around the Globe

The first poem opens to the moon as viewed from the bustling city of New York in Broadway Moon – the first two lines go like this:

It waits behind skyscrapers,
a brilliant actor in the wings,
Check out this beautiful picture drawn by Julia Cairns

then we fly to Bay of Fundy in Canada (poem: High Tide) where sailing is always always guided by the lunar pull and the changing of the tides.

Halls Harbour along the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada - unfortunately the moon is nowhere to be found. Photo taken from Canada Photo Series - click on the image to be taken to the websource.

We then go halfway round the world to see The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey where we get reacquainted with Artemis, the Lady of the Beasts.

She ran like a gazelle, hunted like a she-wolf.
how she loved the chase!
Silver spears she hurled, silver arrows she shot.
Here was her temple, a Wonder of the World.
Now just a single column stands.
See the silver moonbeams mark the spot.
Artemis as depicted by Julie Cairns
The Temple of Artemis - click on the image to be taken to the websource.

We travel next to Haifa, Israel where we get introduced to Sukkot a gathering of family and friends during harvest time:

Here, the pomegranates are sweet,
     the grapes are sweeter,
and the vanilla white moonlight frosting us
through the fragrant roof
      is sweetest of all!

I just fell deeply in love with this luscious description of the moon as vanilla frosting – simply beautiful.

Next we go to The Sahara in Morocco where we get to know the Desert Moon and a little boy who “dreams of traveling” – not through the sand dunes, however, but a trek to the moon itself:

Astronauts less familiar with heat and dust
     have walked there.
Why not one day
     him?
Moonlit night in Morocco by Inuit - click on the image to be taken to the websource.
I am in awe of the soft colors used by Julie Cairns

I also loved how a small village in Mali was portrayed in Lunar Eclipse and how wailing a prayer and striking the pans could have the power to bring back the moon. The reader also gets to virtually travel to Cape Town in South Africa where the reader would receive an alliterative lesson in perspective and the secrets on how we can shrink the moon in Moon Illusion. And of course, we can not have a celebration about the moon without mentioning the Moon Festival as celebrated in Hong Kong, China. I was actually able to scrounge for some mid-autumn festival photos that we have taken here in Singapore a few years back:

Mid-autumn Festival, Singapore. That's me and my daughter.
Lantern Festival, Singapore.
Moon Festival (Hong Kong, China)
Look up!
Rabbit, dragon, butterfly, carp:
lanterns parading by.
Look around!
All of us together,
sampling these sweet cakes –
red bean and lotus paste –
each with a surprise inside:
a salty egg, round and golden
as the glorious eighth moon.

I have to confess, though, that while I enjoyed The Camel Fair in Pushkar, India; Harvest Time in a farm in Iowa, Moon Watching in Yucatan Coast, Mexico – as well as the beautiful Cloudy Night in Bogota Colombia –

Cloudy Night in Bogota, Colombia.

my absolute favorite was Staircase to the Moon in Broome, Australia:

Its glow builds a magic staircase
    from the mudflats to the sky.
Can someone climb and pluck that gem?
— a few lines taken from Staircase to the Moon

At the end of the book, I love how author Marilyn Singer has given lovely brief descriptions about each of the poems and some historical facts on various lunar celebrations around the world. I have a feeling that educators and students alike would truly love this book.

Brief Note about E-readers and the Bluefire App. My enjoyment, however, of the book, is severely limited by the fact that I read it using the Bluefire App in my iPad. This is the only way through which I can have access to the e-book given the fact that we have no kindle for iPad here in Singapore – or even the adobe digital reader app. I was frustrated throughout: here are some screenshots that made me gnash my teeth and nearly made me tear my hair out.

The app would freeze between pages.
And it would take an inordinately long time for the page to load properly.

I am afraid that until I get my own Kindle Fire reader – there shall be no more e-books for this little girl, no siree. Check out other Nonfiction Monday links in the post right above this one.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 127 (120)

PoC Challenge Update: 53 (25)

A Full Moon is Rising. Poems by Marilyn Singer and Pictures by Julia Cairns. Lee & Low Books, Inc. 2011. Book courtesy of Lee & Low Publishers via NetGalley.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

9 comments on “Nonfiction Monday: A Full Moon is Rising – poems by Marilyn Singer and pictures by Julia Cairns

  1. I am so glad you chose this book, Myra. i find the poetry and the illustrations so gentle and alluring, that I feel like my soul is moonbathing!

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  3. Well, this looks and sounds lovely!

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    • Hi Amy, it IS a lovely book. I have a feeling the actual book itself would be an even lovelier experience. I really am not into the e-reader .. as yet. I shall wait for a Kindlefire and see.

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  4. Hi, Myra. This looks like such a gorgeous book. I’m particularly drawn to the cover art and to the illustration you posted for Staircase to the Moon. How nice that the book travels to so many different places around the world, too. I can see why you like it! Thanks also for mentioning Netgalley. I think I’ll check it out 🙂

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