When Mr. Squirrel is woken up by something falling on his tree, he’s shocked to find the big, round, yellow moon (which looks suspiciously like a giant wheel of cheese) on a branch.
That The Napping House was one of the most read books in our household when my kids were littler, as well as one of the few “baby” books that both of them STILL request for occasionally, speaks volumes about the incredible enduring popularity of Audrey and Don Wood’s memorable cumulative tale.
For a long time, the animals have wondered what the moon tasted like, but none of them could touch it, no matter how hard they tried — that is, until a tenacious little tortoise decides to aim much higher and spontaneously kick-starts an ambitious plan that requires the animals to work together to literally reach their common goal.
While more and more children’s books are published every year, and they do seem to be getting increasingly polished and sophisticated, especially in terms of the high quality of illustrations found in most of the books (possibly because a lot of the art can now be created or edited digitally), a lot of the time, these books seem to be designed to appeal more to adult sensibilities and tastes. In fact, these days, you can hardly tell who’s the intended audience for ‘children’s books’. Consequently, the simple, hopeful — i.e. childlike — innocence that was the mainstay of so many beloved ‘old’ stories, is almost non-existent in today’s children’s books.
Fortunately, unlike bad ’80s fashion, good children’s books never really go out of style — so a book can be published in 1960 and yet still delight a child today as much as it did another more than half a century ago. If that’s not a kind of magic, I don’t know what is.
While Mooncake hasn’t been published THAT long ago — 1983, for the record — it’s definitely an old-school classic that will resonate strongly with children, and take the adults reading it back to a simpler time.