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Gilles Tibo
Montréal, Tundra Books, 1993. 24pp, cloth, $10.95
ISBN 0-88776316-2. Also available in French as Simon au clair de lune. CIP

Subject Headings:
Night-Juvenile fiction.
Moon-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8

Reviewed by Catherine McInerney

Volume 22 Number 2
1994 March/April

Simon in the Moonlight is the fifth book in the ever popular Simon series. The last Simon and His Boxes,¹ won the Governor General's award. This one is just as interesting.

The great thing about the Simon books is that although the main character is identifyable as a typical child, Tibo never merely writes about typical situations (Simon takes a bath, Simon goes to nursery school ...). Instead, his character deals with common experiences in an imaginative world.

Simon, like all small children, loves animals, and the animals in the book adore him. One small bird perches on his hat throughout this story. The bold and adventurous Simon uses props from everyday life, such as a colander hat to help him conquer the world of his imagination.

This story concentrates on Simon's curiosity about the phases of the moon. The book follows the moon through one complete cycle. The colours used in Simon in the Moonlight are luminous greens and purples that contrast well with the warm earth tones of the children in the illustrations and make them the centre of interest in the pictures.

Tibo also works against many stereotypical notions about children in his books. Here, the children are well able to undertake finding things out for themselves, and have many creative solutions to the problem of the moon's disappearance. When they do consult an adult it is an atypical wise witch. The adult, however, does not offer a scientific explanation for the phenomenon; she does not know all the answers. In the end, Simon encourages the moon to come back by writing it a poem. There is a lovely celebration reminiscent of an ancient ritual, in which Simon and his friends dance in the moonlight with hundreds of moon-like balloons. This book is a must for any study of the planets.

Highly recommended.

Catherine Mclnerney is a children's librarian with the St. Catharines Public Library

¹Reviewed Vol.XX/6

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