The Man in the Moon: The Guardians of Childhood

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
The Man in the Moon: The Guardians of Childhood Book Poster Image
Adventures of young Man in the Moon a perfect bedtime read.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The book works to incorporate many of the beloved myths of childhood into one story and give children an opportunity to rediscover them. It also introduces the concept of constellations, planets, and space.

Positive Messages

The book shows the triumph of good over bad, the resilience of life after tragedy, and positive relationships among the title character and his many friends and caretakers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are many positive role models throughout the book, including the title character, MiM, who works tirelessly to ensure that the children of Earth have a good childhood. MiM's parents and his guardian, Nightlight, are brave and courageous. 

Violence & Scariness

There is a section of the book that may be scary for young children, in which three people are presumed killed in a battle. There is also a very dark, scary villain.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is a scary part in which MiM, the title character, loses three people very close to him. The villain is dark and mysterious, which may frighten young children. While the deaths are not shown, it may lead to some serious questions from little ones. This is the first in the Guardians of Childhood series.

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What's the story?

The Man in the Moon wasn't always a man; he was once a little boy, called MiM, and this book tells his story through the sailing of great ships and the fighting of great battles, including one between Pitch, the King of Nightmares, and Nightlight, the brave guardian of MiM. Readers find out what MiM does with balloons after they float into Earth's sky and the origins of some of the most beloved children's fantasy characters, including Santa Claus, Mother Goose, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny.

Is it any good?

THE MAN IN THE MOON is breathtaking. It has an old-fashioned feel, yet at the same time seems very modern and fresh. Author-illustrator William Joyce weaves a fantastic tale that gives the origins of the bright, friendly face children see in the night sky. There is fun, fantasy, a dramatic battle, and personal loss. Most of all there is hope. Readers will love the new twist on familiar faces from children's literature and lore, and the book may even pique an interest in astronomy.

Joyce's wonderful storytelling is amplified by his dazzling illustrations, which are sophisticated yet whimsical. Each page stands alone as a work of art and clearly conveys the emotion of the story. When the Nightmare King rolls across the page in all of his gloom, it ups the excitement, intrigue, and apprehension.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about nightmares. They can be very scary. What do you do when you are afraid at night? Do you have a brave nightlight?

  • Children will also want to talk about the parental death featured in the book. How did MiM find a new family? Think about all the families you know -- what makes them different? What makes them the same?

  • There are a lot of storybook characters in this book. Can you name them all? Which ones are your favorites? 

Book details

Themes & Topics

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