The Man in the Moon (Guardians of Childhood Series #1)

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Overview

In the first book of a multibook series, find out how a round, jolly baby became the great white hope of the Milky Way—and ringleader of the Guardians of Childhood.

Up there in the sky.
Don’t you see him?
No, not the moon.
The Man in the Moon.

He wasn’t always a man.
Nor was he always on the moon.

He was once a child.
Like you.

Until a battle,
a shooting star,
and a lost balloon
sent him on a quest.

Meet the very first guardian of childhood.
MiM, the Man in the Moon.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Joyce's (A Day with Wilbur Robinson) concoction, the inaugural offering in the Guardians of Childhood series (with films and 12 books to follow), is a rich, cinematic brew of steampunk fancies. His sumptuous spreads are crowded with rotund telescopes, Jules Verne rocket ships, and sherbet-bearing robots, all painted in a superb palette of indigo and gold. The infant Man in the Moon (named for the Moon Clipper, an extraterrestrial airship that disguises itself as a moon at night) is hidden away by his parents in order to escape the nefarious Pitch, "the King of Nightmares," renowned for "plundering planets, extinguishing stars, and scuttling every airship that crossed his path." Without his parents, but amply provided for, the acronymically nicknamed MiM grows up, round-faced and nattily dressed, orbiting Earth in the derelict clipper ("It was now just a moon"). Learning of the hopes and dreams of Earth's children, he gathers a team of fellow guardians to protect and console them. Joyce combines elemental fairyland themes—a cloistered heir, secret powers, mysterious good deeds—into a tale that's warm and fuzzy, swashbuckling, and dazzlingly inventive all at the same time. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairytale 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 that will leave readers wanting more...and luckily there IS more, because The Man in the Moon is just the first in the Guardian's of Childhood series, which will, I predict, take their rightful places in the hearts of children everywhere." —BRIAN SELZNICK, author/illustrator of the Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret

"Each of William Joyce's books has been more beautifully painted, more magically imagined and more deliciously written than the one that came before. The Man in the Moon is the latest dazzling masterpiece, the one we Joyceans, young and old, have been pining for. It instantly became my children's favorite book." —MICHAEL CHABON, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

* “Joyce's (A Day with Wilbur Robinson) concoction, the inaugural offering in the Guardians of Childhood series (with films and 12 books to follow), is a rich, cinematic brew of steampunk fancies. His sumptuous spreads are crowded with rotund telescopes, Jules Verne rocket ships, and sherbet-bearing robots, all painted in a superb palette of indigo and gold. The infant Man in the Moon (named for the Moon Clipper, an extraterrestrial airship that disguises itself as a moon at night) is hidden away by his parents in order to escape the nefarious Pitch, "the King of Nightmares," renowned for "plundering planets, extinguishing stars, and scuttling every airship that crossed his path." Without his parents, but amply provided for, the acronymically nicknamed MiM grows up, round-faced and nattily dressed, orbiting Earth in the derelict clipper ("It was now just a moon"). Learning of the hopes and dreams of Earth's children, he gathers a team of fellow guardians to protect and console them. Joyce combines elemental fairyland themes—a cloistered heir, secret powers, mysterious good deeds—into a tale that's warm and fuzzy, swashbuckling, and dazzlingly inventive all at the same time.”

- Publishers Weekly 7/4/11 *Starred Review*

* "William Joyce invents a breathtaking landscape for his history of the original guardian of childhood: the Man in the Moon. As a baby, MiM, as he is called, travels the skies in a golden-sailed Moon Clipper with his mother, father and Nightlight, a kind of fairy godfather. Each night, the vessel transforms into the Moon.

One day, Pitch, the King of Nightmares, with jet-black hair in up-floating coils as menacing as Medusa's snakes, hunts down this legendary child who has never had a bad dream. Nightlight whisks MiM away to safety, just before Pitch captures the child's parents. As Nightlight plunges his diamond dagger into Pitch's heart, an explosion results, and when MiM later reaches the Moon's surface, he sees the image of his parents etched in the stars. Their constellation offers MiM comfort, and the moon creatures rally around to educate and protect the baby.

Joyce's fans will relish the parallels with his earlier tour de force about a mythic man in a magical land, Santa Calls. Santa rides in his sleigh; MiM flies on his moth. Santa learns of children's wishes through letters; their hopes and dreams travel to MiM by helium balloons. When MiM comes up with a solution to children's nighttime fears, he recruits the Moon's minions and his team of earthling Guardians (Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc.). Pitch and Nighlight's fates will be the subject of subsequent episodes, but this first adventure in the Guardians of Childhood series offers a visual feast and a complete mythology of the Man in the Moon." —Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness. STARRED REVIEW.

"Joyce’s prowess as an illustrator is undeniable, and this may well be his most ambitious, marvelous-looking title to date. Only a sure and meticulous hand could conjure up such luscious lunar moths and battling constellations."—Kirkus Reviews

"With the aura of an established classic, the first volume in Joyce’s long-anticipated series, “The Guardians of Childhood,” is worth the wait. And what a brilliant concept! The hero, MiM, or the Man in the Moon, is just the first beloved figure of childhood lore to get his own tale—the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost are to follow. With lots of detail in its gold-flecked blues, the lavish illustration will set 6-year-old minds ticking, and though the King of Nightmares makes an appearance, this is a story primarily about sweet."—The New York Times Book Review

This gorgeously strange picture book, the first in a projected series, traces the origins of the Man in the Moon, who, after losing his parents in a battle with the King of Nightmares, is raised by a retinue of giant glowworms and mice in tasseled sailor caps. Joyce’s shimmering images are at once adorable and otherworldly: a lunar moth bears the sleeping baby hero through space; at dinnertime, starfish swarm the sky.

The New Yorker (12/5/12)

"Resplendent, almost glowing."—The Wall Street Journal

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
William Joyce is a bit of an acquired taste. It also is not surprising that he holds enormous appeal for other children book artists like Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman, who also depict mysterious worlds and lost children. I cannot quite imagine a 4 or 5-year-old who could sit through, or follow, this complicated and quite text heavy story about how Mim lost his parents to evil forces and floated in the sky in a sailing ship dubbed the Moon Clipper. He wanders about until he finally makes his home in the moon, where he shares the comforting light of the Nightlight fairies with the children of earth. However, I can imagine individuals of all ages being drawn in and enchanted by the lush illustrations that take on dark overtones as Mim's parents send him off in the Moonclipper and gradually take on the warm light of the nighttime moon. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Kirkus Reviews

A visual feast cannot compensate for lackluster plotting in this first installment of a new mega-series that involves picture books, chapter books and (of course) a movie.

There are guardians of children everywhere that strive to keep kids safe from harm. Of these, the first was MiM, The Man in the Moon. Born to a loving family with a guardian named Nightlight to keep him safe from bad dreams, MiM's untainted sleep attracts the unwanted attention of Pitch, the King of Nightmares. When MiM's family and brave Nightlight perish in an attack, MiM lives out the rest of the days inside his family's ship (our own moon). Once grown, he determines to protect the children of nearby Earth and calls upon folks like Santa Claus, Mother Goose and the Tooth Fairy to join him in this goal. Joyce's prowess as an illustrator is undeniable, and this may well be his most ambitious, marvelous-looking title to date. Only a sure and meticulous hand could conjure up such luscious lunar moths and battling constellations. Sadly, the storytelling cannot live up to the visual presentation. Feeling more like an introductory tale than a full-blooded story in its own right, the old-fashioned–feeling narrative fails to find a plot.

Here's hoping that future installments in this ambitious series will spend less time on back story and more on story line. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pamela Paul
With the aura of an established classic, the first volume in Joyce's long-­anticipated series, "The Guardians of Childhood," is worth the wait. And what a brilliant concept!
—The New York Times Book Review
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—This debut title of the series spins a fantastical yarn about the origins of The Man in the Moon, aka MiM. As a child, he enjoys a safe and peaceful existence during the Golden Age, sailing among the planets with his parents on the Moon Clipper, a galactic ship. When the dark and evil Pitch, King of Nightmares, attempts to capture him, a blinding flash of light obliterates Pitch as well as MiM's parents. Now orphaned, the boy is stranded on his ship-turned-moon and is raised under the care of Moonbots, Moonmice, and Lunar Moths. Over time, he becomes aware of other children living on planet Earth and, upon reaching adulthood, assembles a variety of guardians (e.g., Santa Claus, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy) who vow to "watch over the children of Earth [and] guide them safely from the ways of harm." The resolution of this intricately plotted story begs for more; not only are additional books forthcoming, but also an animated film based on the series is slated for a 2012 release. Indeed, Joyce's full-color, multimedia artwork creates an out-of-this-world, cinematic setting and cast of characters, brimming with eerie and hilarious detail and a masterful juxtaposition of light and dark. Finely wrought motifs, inspired by classical architecture and old-fashioned measuring tools, embellish spot drawings, set off text, and underscore the tale's nostalgic tone. A natural bedtime story to share one-on-one, this book will also captivate independent readers who may have only just outgrown tales about the Sandman and other "Guardians of Childhood."—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442430419
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Series: Guardians of Childhood Series , #1
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 103,951
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William Joyce

William Joyce does a lot of stuff—films, apps, Olympic curling—but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, Toothiana, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also an Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives with his family in Shreveport, Louisiana.

William Joyce does a lot of stuff—films, apps, Olympic curling—but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, Toothiana, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also an Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives with his family in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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Reading Group Guide

A Teacher's Guide and Reading Group Guide to The Man in the Moon

A Teacher's Guide to The Man in the Moon (part of the Guardians of Childhood series)

by William Joyce

Discussion Questions

1. Before reading this book to students, ask them if they have ever heard of the Man in the Moon. Then ask them if they know of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, Mother Goose, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy. What do they know about each one? Are there different stories about each of these characters? How do the students respond to the varying stories?

2. How did the Man in the Moon get his nickname? Who gave it to him?

3. Describe Pitch. What kind of person is he?

4. "Night-light, bright light, sweet dreams I bestow. Sleep tight, all night, forever I will glow" was a beloved song for MiM. What tune do you think this song can be sung to? Can you make up your own tune for this song?

5. Compare and contrast the Moon Clipper to the Nightmare Galleon. Which ship was the best one? Provide evidence from the book to support your answer.

6. After the great explosion on the moon, who took care of the infant MiM? What was his schooling like?

7. Would it be fun to jump around the moon and explore all the many tunnels and craters?

8. Moonbots, moonmice, lunar moths, and glowworms make good companions, so why was the Man in the Moon feeling lonely?

9. When the Man in the Moon discovered his parents' telescope, what did MiM look for first? He didn't find what he was looking for but he did make a discovery that helped to lessen his loneliness. What did he discover?

10. What do you think Lunar Ice Cream tastes like? What is Comet Surprise? Does Space Juice Nectarine taste like nectarines? What are starfish?

11. When you are sad, what makes you feel better?

12. What did the Man in the Moon do to protect the children of the Earth?

13. What is a guardian? Why did the Man in the Moon believe the children of Earth need guardians? Should all parents take the oath of the guardians?

14. What are the differences between the oath Nightlight took for the Man in the Moon's parents and the oath the other guardians took for the Man in the Moon?

Activities

1. Have the students make their own man in the moon. Provide round circles for each student, and using florescent crayons, paints, glitter and glue, or glow-in-the-dark paper, allow the students to create their very own man in the moon.

2. The Man in the Moon's parents were made into a constellation. Have the students research various constellations in our sky. Allow them to make a constellation of someone close to them. They could draw the constellation or use gummed stars to create their own special constellation.

3. Have the students raise their own lunar moth. It is possible to buy the cocoon and watch the lunar moth hatch. If this isn't possible, go online and search websites that show the lunar moth's life cycle.

4. Research what a telescope does and how it works. If possible, have the students visit a planetarium to understand constellations.

5. Research what gravity is. Compare the amount of gravity on earth to that on the moon. Why is it different? Have the students research different experiments and then do the experiments to help them understand what gravity is.

Visit TheGuardiansofChildhoodBooks.com for downloadable activities, videos, and more.

Guide prepared by Lynn Dobson, librarian at East Brookfield Elementary School, East Brookfield, MA.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

A Reading Group Guide to The Man in the Moon (part of the Guardians of Childhood series)

by William Joyce

Discussion Questions

1. Before reading this with the group, ask them if they have ever heard of the Man in the Moon. Then ask them if they know of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, Mother Goose, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy. What do they know about each one? Are there different stories about each of these characters? How do the students respond to the varying stories?

2. How did the Man in the Moon get his nickname? Who gave it to him?

3. Describe Pitch. What kind of person is he?

4. "Night-light, bright light, sweet dreams I bestow. Sleep tight, all night, forever I will glow" was a beloved song for MiM. What tune do you think this song can be sung to? Can you make up your own tune for this song?

5. Compare and contrast the Moon Clipper to the Nightmare Galleon. Which ship was the best one? Provide evidence from the book to support your answer.

6. After the great explosion on the moon, who took care of the infant MiM? What was his schooling like?

7. Would it be fun to jump around the moon and explore all the many tunnels and craters?

8. Moonbots, moonmice, lunar moths, and glowworms make good companions, so why was the Man in the Moon feeling lonely?

9. When the Man in the Moon discovered his parents' telescope, what did MiM look for first? He didn't find what he was looking for but he did make a discovery that helped to lessen his loneliness. What did he discover?

10. What do you think Lunar Ice Cream tastes like? What is Comet Surprise? Does Space Juice Nectarine taste like nectarines? What are starfish?

11. When you are sad, what makes you feel better?

12. What did the Man in the Moon do to protect the children of the Earth?

13. What is a guardian? Why did the Man in the Moon believe the children of Earth need guardians? Should all parents take the oath of the guardians?

14. What are the differences between the oath Nightlight took for the Man in the Moon's parents and the oath the other guardians took for the Man in the Moon?

Visit TheGuardiansofChildhoodBooks.com for downloadable activities, videos, and more.

Guide prepared by Lynn Dobson, librarian at East Brookfield Elementary School, East Brookfield, MA.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    A very cute story for little (and not so little!) people. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and alone are worth the price of the book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Good book

    I saw the movie so this book really reveals what happened. I am 11 and I still read these kind of books. Haha...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    A sweet story!

    The illustrations are just beautiful and the story gives me heart. What's great about this book is that it's for everyone who still beleives, I mean, I'm 13, and some people might say that I'm getting too old for those kinds of stories, but I love this book and they're wrong!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    So thats how it happened!

    A wonderful tale that begins the story of The Guardians series. An enjoyable read. Definately will make you want to read this series and then see the movies. Enjoy

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    Beautiful Illustrations

    The illustrations in this book were what drew me to purchase it. The story is OK, but the illustrations make the book. The book begs to be animated. I've looked at the book several times to enjoy the pictures. Unfortunately, I have no young children to share it with, so can't give you that kind of opinion.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Beautiful!

    Though I did buy this book thinking it was an actual chapter book and while I was a little disappointed when I seen that it wasn't, after flipping through it on my nook quickly I can't say that I was disappointed anymore. The art work is simply amazing! And that alone is worth what I paid but the story just completed it all with a very, very cute concept! I would definitely buy more from this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Disappointed, sort of

    My son and I thought we were buying a chapter book to read at bedtime after enjoying the movie so much. This picture book is beautiful but not a novel.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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