Moon Theater

Moon Theater

by Etienne Delessert

A young stagehand must complete a host of tasks before the moon can take center stage in the theater of night.


A young stagehand must complete a host of tasks before the moon can take center stage in the theater of night.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Unsettling glittery-eyed creatures are tamed by a boy, who masterminds the coming of night like a stage manager. "I water the stars," he says, wielding a sprinkling can. "I dress the birds in long black coats." The huge birds, black paint dripping off their beaks, look slightly embarrassed, but game. "I train wild dogs to howl at the moon," he continues, waving a baton at hills spotted with dogs with huge and terrible teeth. "It all began long, long ago, and it starts anew every night. It's my moon theater," he finishes simply. The gray of night pours over the creatures, and their scary features soften at the sight of the boy. It's the kind of story that mines a rich vein of childhood emotions; Delessert (Full Color) remembers what it is to fear the coming of night, and imagines how powerful it would feel to have mastery over it. Some younger readers may be put off by the teeth and bulbous snouts of the night creatures, but the contrast between the boy's matter-of-fact tone and his mythic project has a strange charm. Ages 6—up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
For Delessert, night is a dark stage where an old man pulls up the moon. Our young narrator, however, works backstage where, in preparation, he waters the stars, erases the clouds, paints the flowers, dresses the birds in black coats, and trains the wild dogs to howl. The few words of text go below a ground-like line across the double pages, with the circles around spots in the word "moon" in the title appearing next to it in the text. To continue his work, our narrator tells us that he ends by feeding the night monsters and giving soft dreams to the dolls and teddy bears. Then it is time for him to climb into the moon for "tonight's show," which is new every night, his "moon theater." `Delessert stuffs the double-page scenes with smoothly sculptured creatures and balloon-like flowers pulsing with mystic energy. We must look closely to see the animals slinking through the nighttime landscapes, to watch a trio of rodents use anthropomorphic hands to manipulate mushrooms and acorns on a checkerboard. In this magical world readers should not be frightened by the "hungry night creatures," but should find this a soothing good night tale. Check out the different jacket and cover. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A young stagehand works in a mysterious theater where he readies the world for the nightly rise of the Moon. He describes his duties, which include watering the stars, sprinkling star powder on the dolls, playing tricky games with the rats, and feeding hungry night monsters, all before a gnomelike little old man lifts the Moon above a proscenium stage. The surreal, glassy-eyed, knob-nosed creatures with blocky bodies dominate every scene. Their appearance and the illustrations' crowded composition are reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch's art. The text, which is occasionally punctuated with rebuslike icons, features short declarative sentences that will be manageable for beginning readers. Despite the slightly eerie feel, the book's subdued color palette and nighttime theme make this a possible choice for bedtime.—Madigan McGillicuddy, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Creative Company, The
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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