Moon Was at a Fiesta

Moon Was at a Fiesta

5.0 2
by Matthew Gollub, Leorigildo Martinez

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The sun lights the day and the moon lights the night, and morning seldom breaks to find them both up in the sky. When the moon does stay up past dawn, people in Oaxaca, Mexico, have an explanation: "The moon was at a fiesta." A sumptuous original tale set amid the rich folkculture of Mexico. Full color. A ges 4-8.  See more details below


The sun lights the day and the moon lights the night, and morning seldom breaks to find them both up in the sky. When the moon does stay up past dawn, people in Oaxaca, Mexico, have an explanation: "The moon was at a fiesta." A sumptuous original tale set amid the rich folkculture of Mexico. Full color. A ges 4-8.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cultural charm resonates throughout this appealing original folktale. Here Gollub and Martinez, who previously collaborated on another Mexican-inspired tale, The Twenty-five Mixtec Cats , offer the Oaxaca explanation for why the moon is sometimes visible during the day. ``For hundreds of years, the sun and the moon stayed in their separate skies. It was the sun's job to shine all day long while people went about their work. It was the moon's job to watch over people's dreams.'' When she overhears the stars talking wistfully about the games and feasts enjoyed during the sun's hours, the moon decides to throw a party of her own. Excited by the prospect, the townspeople, local animals and even the neighborhood mermaid offer to provide food and costumes. Martinez's angular, folkloric artwork features a sandy, desert palette accentuated by brightly garmented characters. Ethnic masks, dolls and lanterns, which are described in a glossary at the end of the book, further enliven the festivities. The moon's remorse when the tired, nocturnal revelers are unable to perform their daytime duties casts an ungainly moral over an otherwise sprightly and lighthearted tale. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This original porquoi story set in Mexico explains why the moon is sometimes visible in the morning sky. The sun and moon are happy with their celestial arrangement until the latter hears about the parties and feasts that take place during the day. She becomes jealous, and decides to have a fiesta at night. The people agree and stay out until daybreak, so when the sun rises, none of the work in the fields gets done. Although the moon is remorseful and resolves to stay in the evening sky, she occasionally likes to celebrate, and ``That's why in Oaxaca, when people rise with the sun and see the moon, they say, `The moon was at a fiesta.'" The story is perfect for reading aloud. The Spanish words, seamlessly interspersed throughout, add flavor. The watercolor, gouache, and acrylic illustrations perfectly complement the text-cool greens and blues reflect the light of the moon by night, and earth tones reflect the sun's glare by day. The same luminous colors used in the landscapes are repeated in the people's faces and clothes, suggesting their close relationship with nature. Full of wonderful details, the pictures give a glimpse of Oaxacan culture-the paper cut-out decorations, fireworks and wooden masks, and the anthropomorphized moon-and beautifully convey the people's respect for nature and their love of celebrations.-Lauren Mayer, New York Public Library
Julie Corsaro
Arranging a nocturnal fiesta to please the dissatisfied stars ("All the games and feasts take place under the sun's brilliant rays"), the moon is pleased until she realizes that the villagers of Oaxaca, Mexico, will sleep all day, and their crops will be planted late. Still, she has enjoyed her evening very much and continues to celebrate occasionally. That's why in Oaxaca, when people rise with the sun, they sometimes see the moon. Combining the social realism of Orozco with the whimsy of Chagall, the vigorous mixed-media paintings are a delight. The patterned pictures in golden hues include the sleeping half-moon covered by a colorful blanket and an exhausted human reveler draped over a tree limb. The narrative of this original "pourquoi" is simple yet appealing, and Spanish terms like "mole", "tamales", and "monigotes" are thoughtfully integrated into the narrative. This is the same team that gave us the acclaimed "The Twenty-five Mixtec Cats" (1993); hopefully, they'll take on the intriguing Mexican festivities (Night of the Radishes and Monday on the Hill) discussed in the detailed afterword.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Mexican folktale
Product dimensions:
8.83(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.38(d)

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The Moon Was at a Fiesta 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Miss_Heidi More than 1 year ago
"Mom, why is Luna still in the sky?" My children have asked me this very question. Matthew Gollub's original creation myth seeks to answer this query in this delightful picture book. A jealous Moon wants to commune with the human race like the Sun. She enlists the aid of her new friends and the festival planners. To honor her, the padrinos arrange all to create a colorful celebration, replete with lanterns and manigotes (giant papier-mâché puppets). Even a mermaid joins the effort. After much food and dancing, the Moon and the villagers fall asleep when the Sun arrives. The illustrations by Oaxacan artist Leovigildo Martinínez remind me of the pottery of the region, shaded bright colors over sand and earth tones. His art lends a mythic quality to the real life festivities that this story describes. At the back of the book, you will find a few Spanish terms defined and a short historical note that invites discussion. My 4 and 8-year-old children and I have talked about the ways that different peoples seek to understand their world. "The Moon was at a Fiesta" has opened up an opportunity to explore a multi-cultural milieu of fable and legend. Mr. Gollub has, in fact, written another such story that I can recommend, "Uncle Snake," with pictures by the same artist. Both stories are wonderful additions to lend an international quality to your child's bookshelf. Both are also available in Spanish.