Review Blog

Apr 03 2020

The night of the hiding moon by Emma Allen

cover image

Illus. by Sher Rill Ng. NLA Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9780642279583.
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. From the wonderful cover to the last page the luminous quality of the illustrations will entrance the reader. Turning from the bright yellow of the cover the book shows us young Felix, cowering under his blankets, frightened. The pages are now in direct contrast to the image on the front cover: black and dark, menacing and scary. The moon is hiding too from the deafening giants strolling across the sky. But Felix reaches for his torch and uses the light to make a shadow puppet on the wall by his bed and decides to make one his friend, a companion who will support him when the moon is in hiding.
Together they shake off the fear that the night brings, and the puppets display the attributes so needed by Felix to defeat his fears. Together they go outside, bold against the bright light of the torch, emulating the light used behind shadow puppets in a theatre, and bring back the moon from her hiding place.
The night of the hiding moon is a charming story about finding courage in times of great desperation. Many find thunderstorms a source of fear and anxiety, but Felix overcomes this by confronting his fears, finding strength within himself.
Allen's delightful text allows Ng's strong illustrations to present Felix's quest for courage in a way that all readers will understand and enjoy. This tale uses traditional Asian puppetry as the puppets conjured up by Felix and his torch and I love the inclusion of several pages of background information on puppets used in the art of storytelling, particularly in Indonesia, along with templates for making your own shadow puppet. The puppets shown in the information section are from the National Library's collection.
A wonderful read: an exciting story, imparting information about a form of theatre we rarely see while giving children the opportunity to make their own puppets. Themes: Shadow puppets, Fear, Anxiety, Thunderstorms, Moon.
Fran Knight

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