And if the Moon Could Talk

And if the Moon Could Talk

4.2 4
by Kate Banks, Georg Hallensleben

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Evocative text and soothing pictures illuminate interior and exterior nighttime scenes in this beautiful book which shows readers what the moon might share with them--if it could talk. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 3-5. Pub: 3/98.


Evocative text and soothing pictures illuminate interior and exterior nighttime scenes in this beautiful book which shows readers what the moon might share with them--if it could talk. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 3-5. Pub: 3/98.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With quiet phrases and luxurious color, Banks and Hallensleben (Baboon) evoke a perfectly peaceful bedtime. In a stuccoed house, amid tranquil lakes and orderly rows of trees, a girl plays with stuffed animals and listens to a story read by her father. Far away, the moon glows on tall hills, desert, jungle and ocean, where people and wild animals prepare for sleep. Full-bleed spreads expertly relate the text's alternating descriptions of relaxed interior and exterior scenes. In the child's bedroom "on a small table sits a glass, a wooden boat, a starfish, too." Hallensleben connects the spread that follows, "if the moon could talk, it would tell of waves washing onto the beach, shells, and a crab resting," with a painting of boats bobbing on a tranquil sea, whose color gently echoes the water glass on the bedside table of the previous spread. The story closes with the child tucked into bed and the moon whispering, "Good night." Hallensleben complements the hushed narrative with warm cushions of paint: the girl's thick blanket is egg-yolk yellow with orange-red dots and the pillows are as deep blue as the night sky. The outdoor panoramas have the same intimacy, whether they feature a lioness and her cubs, or a red tractor lumbering toward a yellow-lit farmhouse. As night gently envelops the landscapes, the words and art convey the snug warmth of a featherbed and a world as small as a neighborhood. Ages 3-5. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly
PW wrote in a starred review, "As night gently envelops the landscapes, the words and art convey the snug warmth of a featherbed and a world as small as a neighborhood." Ages 3-5. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2In this quiet lyrical story by the collaborators of Baboon (Farrar, 1997), a sense of peace prevails. Evening approaches. Inside, a child goes through her bedtime ritualsa story, a glass of water, a hug from Mama. Outside, the moon shines down on a world slowly preparing for nighttimestars appear, wind rocks a tree, a lion licks her cubs. The deeply saturated tones of the lovely, impressionistic oil paintings perfectly match the somnolent feeling of the text. Moonlight illuminates the countryside while warm colors exude a cozy ambiance in the house. The repetitious text adds to the subdued mood. Perfect for one-on-one sharing, this book will enhance bedtime story collections.Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX
Banks and Hallensleben's third collaboration continues to pay homage to the creations of Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. While the playful exchanges between mother and child in their previous Spider Spider and Baboon recall the interaction in The Runaway Bunny, this new work evokes the powerful bedtime magic of Goodnight Moon. The opening scene finds a young child in a large but cozy room filled with familiar objects, immediately conjuring up the "great green room." "Somewhere a pair of shoes lies under a chair," begins the text, just as "there was a telephone / And a red balloon..." in the famous bunny's bedroom. (There is a bunny here, too, though it is the stuffed companion of a human child.) But then Banks's book makes a grand departure from its honored predecessor: "a window yawns open," and the book soars out and beyond the bedroom to take in the vast world-"if the moon could talk, it would tell of evening stealing through the woods and a lizard scurrying home to supper." The following spread returns to the warm, safe bedroom, and the story continues to alternate in that fashion. Small things from the child's home are reflected in kind in the world outside: a light flicks on in the hallway, "and if the moon could talk, it would tell of stars flaring up one by one and a small fire burning by a tree"; a wooden boat and a starfish sit on the nightstand, and the moon shines down on "waves washing onto the beach, shells, and a crab resting." Hallensleben's breathtaking impressionistic paintings portray distinctive settings not specified in the simple, poetic text: a man drives cattle through the square of a Spanish-style village; sailboats bob in a tropical harbor; a farmhouse nestles below luminous blue-white mountains. Each view of the world outside relates back to the sleepy child-as Mama tucks her in, a lioness settles her cubs-emphasizing the child's connectedness to all things. Finally, and most satisfyingly, the focus returns to the little girl's bedroom: "if the moon could talk, it would tell of a child curled up in bed wrapped in sleep," and-in a last twist on Brown's lullaby-"it would murmur, Good night." Hallensleben's rich, luxuriant palette moves adeptly in and out of the home. The child's room-always surrounded by a safely confining border until she falls asleep-is filled with warm, bright primary colors, while the outside world is depicted in full-bleed in more natural, subdued tones. The nighttime scenes are perfect for exhibiting the artist's remarkable range of blues and his talented use of light, especially notable in the village scene on the stunning endpapers. As in Baboon, Banks's rhythmic text subtly conveys the theme of a great and wondrous world while never sacrificing the comfort and security of parental love. Perhaps Brown would approve of her theories on the everyday experiences of the child being applied to the more global vision of today. Regardless, Banks and Hallensleben deserve high praise for creating a classic picture book of the highest caliber.
Kirkus Reviews
Savor the endpapers, which open with a van Goghlike night scene of muted, window-lit houses clustered around a shining lake. Step into a cozy interior of a child's room at bedtime, inhabited by stuffed animals, a red bed, and an expanse of carpet, radiating all the warmth of Hurd's scene of the great green room. The events here are quiet ones—the ticking of a clock, the reading of a book, the flicking on of a light. Alternating with the interior landscapes is the moon's-eye-view across the globe of other slumber scenes—boats docked at a seaside port, nomads and camels crouched among desert dunes, a lion licking her cubs in a faraway den. A dreaming child blends the two worlds in a caravan of color. Readers and listeners alike will find that the poetic text and molten illustrations glow, ember-like, long after the child of the book has been tucked in and the moon has murmured its good-night. (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
9.52(w) x 10.36(h) x 0.42(d)
AD660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Author Kate Banks and illustrator Georg Hallensleben have collaborated on several books, including The Cat Who Walked Across France, Baboon, Close Your Eyes and The Night Worker, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award. Banks lives in the South of France with her husband and two sons. Hallensleben lives in Paris.

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And if the Moon Could Talk 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorites -- both lulling and lyrical. The paintings are terrific and the text, though simple, is almost magical. Added bonus: the European flavor is so strong that reading the book is almost like being in Europe again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I spend a tremendous amount of time going through all the lists of recommended children's books and their reviews before I buy them and of all the books I've bought in the past three years, this is one of our favorites. The illustrations are so colorful and dreamlike. Together with the beautifully-written prose they evoke vivid images of peaceful nighttime scenes - out of doors where the moon can see, and inside a child's home where it is warm and cozy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sweet bedtime story about the nighttime moon.My three year old granddaughter likes this book very much.The pages are lusciously illustrated.