Ayu and the perfect moon by David Cox
Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 978 1 921720 22 2.
(Ages 6+) Recommended. Picture book. A reprinting of this fabulous story, first published in 1984 is most welcome. With the new curriculum having Asian Themes as one of its strands, then reprinting successful and well loved books from the past is most apposite. Walker Books (Australia) has republished many old Australian favourites, and none more timely than this one.
The story tells of a young Balinese girl practicing for the Legong dance to be performed in the village under the Banyan tree on the night of the full moon.
As she practices, the village goes on with its everyday business and the reader sees how the village operates, what the people do during the day, how they live, as they all waits for the full moon. The night of the full moon will see people coming from all over the area to join in with dressing up, processions, dragon dancing, all to celebrate the rise of the full moon. Ayu dances with her hands, feet and eyes, aglow in her amazing red and gold costume, reprising a centuries old tradition of classical dancing.
Pages at the end of the tale explain the story of the Legong dance, with following pages about David Cox and why he wrote this tale. The exquisite pen and wash pages are filled with colour and interest, and children will learn a great deal about the culture of the people of one of our closest neighbours.