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Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale

4.0 1
by Karen Henry Clark, Patrice Barton (Illustrator)

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This is the story of one baby’s journey from her birth parents in China, who dream of a better life for their daughter, to her adoptive parents on the other side of the world, who dream of the life they can give her.
A turtle, a peacock, a monkey, a panda, and some fish shepherd the baby as she floats in a basket on a moonlit, winding river into the loving


This is the story of one baby’s journey from her birth parents in China, who dream of a better life for their daughter, to her adoptive parents on the other side of the world, who dream of the life they can give her.
A turtle, a peacock, a monkey, a panda, and some fish shepherd the baby as she floats in a basket on a moonlit, winding river into the loving arms of her new parents.
Perfect for bedtime reading, Karen Henry Clark’s poetic text, reminiscent of a lullaby, and Patrice Barton’s textured and gentle-hued illustrations capture the great love between parents and children and the miraculous journey of adoption.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debuting author Clark suggests that the ambivalent feelings surrounding adoption may be best handled by a fairy tale. Only a whiff of sadness is allowed to intrude on the idyll of "sweet moon baby," who sleeps contentedly as her Chinese parents--clearly loving--agree that they cannot raise her: " ‘She should have pretty things,' the mother said. ‘She should learn to read,' the father said." They send her down the river in a basket ("Only good things will happen to our daughter," they reassure each other), where creatures care for her along the way until she is found by a red-haired man and his wife, who come looking for her in a boat of their own. " ‘Perhaps she will like pretty things,' the wife said. ‘Perhaps she will like books,' the husband said." Each of Barton's spreads is full of comforting notes: the girl's tranquil face, the gentle landscapes, the smiling moon. While some parents may feel uneasy with the story's fantasy elements, others will welcome the affirming images it provides for families with adopted children. Ages 5–8. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"For a young child beginning to make sense of her past, Sweet Moon Baby offers a safe doorway into a deeper understanding."-Adoptive Families magazine
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
There are the nuts and bolts of every adoption story—and then there is the magic of how parents and children become families through adoption. This title, about a baby girl in China and how she finds her forever home, is a poignant story that captures the magic. The love of her birth parents, the little girls' innocence, and the nurturing of her adoptive parents all come together in this beautiful story. All parents involved with this adorable infant want the best for her—the best life she could possibly have. Sacrifices are made but, in the end, the girl will flourish. Soft, whimsical illustrations convey the wonder of it all. On her journey to her adoptive parents, the little girl has many helpers in the animal kingdom. The last page spread shows them as stuffed animals in her cozy bedroom. The poetic text and sweet illustrations are very soothing to read and to study. Although this little girl travels far from the land of their birth, readers get to see a happy young girl at the end of the story. There she is, held lovingly by her parents, eating pie as a toddler, hugging her doll as a little girl, and reading a book in a tree, when she is a bit older. She is happy, and safe, and loved very much. Adoptive families will welcome this tale. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
Kirkus Reviews

This dreamlike tale is, above all else, a love story. A baby girl is born in China, and her parents, too poor to care for her, place her in a basket in the river and trust her to the care of the moon. The basket is helped along its journey by many creatures, while the baby tucked inside sleeps on (in many different positions, all adorable). Meanwhile, a presumably American couple dreams of a daughter, preparing for her arrival until one night they feel called to begin their own fantastical journey. They find the baby in the river and carry her home with them. Although this is an idealistic, romantic adoption tale, a bit of realism surfaces with both sets of parents described as "happy and sad at the same time." Aside from some troublesome gender stereotypes—while the fathers worry about the girl having enough to eat and books to read, the mothers are most concerned that she have "pretty things"—this lyrical story of destiny and love, as interpreted in Barton's playful, textured illustrations, is a triumph. (Picture book. 5-8)

School Library Journal
PreS-K—A lyrical fantasy about a Chinese infant's magical trip to her adoptive parents. Her birth parents declare her "perfect," but are unable to provide for her. Thus they place her in a basket and set her adrift: "We must trust the moon. Only good things will happen to our daughter." Helped by a variety of animals as well as a beneficent-looking moon, the baby girl floats down the "winding river" to her adoptive parents, who have been preparing for her arrival by planting vegetables and trees, building a new bedroom, and buying books. Their hands are shown parting reeds to reveal her smiling up at them from her basket. The vibrant watercolors capture her journey and her delight in her new family and home. Although most youngsters will understand that the journey on the river is a fantasy, adults should be prepared for questions from literal-minded children who may wonder why a baby had to make a solitary voyage and depend on the kindness of wild animals in order to reach her destination. Ann Turner's Through Moon and Stars and Night Sky (Harper, 1990) also features poetic language and tells the story from the child's point of view. Clark's book would be a good choice where demand for adoption stories, especially those about international adoption, is strong.—Deborah Vose, East Middle School and South Middle School, Braintree, MA

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

KAREN HENRY CLARK wrote her first story when she was four years old by dictating the tale of a runaway popcorn ball to her father. From that moment on, she wanted to become an author. It took longer than she anticipated, as do most things in life. Sweet Moon Baby is her first book. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she loves to watch the moon rise over the Mississippi, a wide and wonderful river like the one in this book.

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Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The main reason I bought the book was because of the illustrator Patrice Barton. She's one of my favs. Her artwork here is flawless and beautiful. The story is very sweet also. But the artwork is what really sold me on this one.