Finding Monkey Moon by Elizabeth Pulford

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Finding Monkey Moon by Elizabeth Pulford
Ill. by Kate Wilkinson. Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781921720734
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Toys, Loss, Determination, Hope. Michael's favourite toy, Monkey Moon, is missing. He never goes to bed without his toy, and determines to look until he finds it. A search of the house proves fruitless, so Michael sets off to the park. He and Dad don their jackets and hats and go off into the crisp cold night with a torch. The illustrations depict a wintry night, complete with frost covered trees, a hooting owl, sleeping ducks and cold clear darkness. The light of the torch illuminates their way and makes the reader look more closely at the things the torch shows. As they walk to the park, each page finishes with Michael's voice assuring Monkey Moon that they will find him. Once in the park they search the playground, the Wendy house, the trees and finally find the toy in the undergrowth. Michael hugs his toy to himself and the three walk back home contentedly.
This is a charming story of one boy's determination to find his toy, and the support given by Dad as they go off into the cold night. Michael reassures his toy that they are on their way, and hugs him to himself when he is found. The scenes replicate what might happen if a child is lost and could be a good starting point for discussion about staying close to Mum or Dad.
The beautiful illustrations reflect the coldness of the night, with the beam of the torch shining through the trees and around the park, the soft acrylic paintings drawing in the readers' eyes to look more closely at what is represented on each page. The shadows draw more closely over the boy in the park, but the next page where he finds Monkey Moon, a little colour appears in the frosty cold night. Determination and hope has won out.
Fran Knight