Little Moar and the Moon
Little Moar and the Moon
Little Moar’s mother gave him a hug. “The moon doesn’t have a face,” she told him. “It only looks like it does. It’s just a big rock with bumps and shadows on the surface.”
Little Moar looked out the window at the moon. Maybe the smile he saw could just be a shadow. But he still didn’t like it.
Even if it is far away, thought little Moar, I am glad I beat the moon home this time!
One autumn afternoon, an Inuit boy, little Moar, rushes home after playing baseball with his friends after school. The reason for his haste is because of his fear of the moon. Whenever he looked up at the darkening sky, he felt the gaze of the moon with its terrifying half-smirk. On his way home though, some friends who are playing tag invite him to join the game. He agrees, but the fun game makes him lose track of the time. When he looks back up at the darkening dusky sky, the fear of the moon again sends him hurrying toward home. On his way back, little Moar meets his cousin who asks for his help feeding a pack of sled dogs. Little Moar agrees, but, as time creeps by, soon the sky has become totally dark, and the moon comes out. Terrified, little Moar escapes quickly to the safety of his uncle's house. When he notices that clouds have fully covered the moon, little Moar takes the opportunity to run all the way back to his own house where he's greeted by his parents. Upon learning the reason behind his distress, little Moar's mother comforts him with a warm hug and tells him that the moon is actually a big rock with bumps that is not scary at all. Nevertheless, little Moar is still not a big fan of the moon.
Author Roselynn Akulukjuk, who was born in Nunavut, drew on her own experiences to tell about the shortening of daylight hours approaching winter that culminates in 24 hours of darkness in some northern regions. The emotions that this gradual change elicits are depicted wonderfully in the illustrations of Jazmine Gubbe whose colours make Little Moar’s fright palpable and raw, and the gradual shift in the tint of the sky, highlighted by the moon’s sinister glow, truly immerses readers in a suspenseful tale.
At the same time as Akulukjuk depicts little Moar's fright, the author gives some insights into the lives of northern Inuit peoples. The other inhabitants of little Moar's community are unfazed by the rapid darkening of the sky as they continue their play and work even as total darkness descends. This contrasting way of life opens up discussions about how culture influences what we take for granted in our own accustomed daily routines.
Akulukjuk also integrates an Inuit word, ujuruk, in the dialogue of Little Moar and the Moon, thereby creating an introductory point to the Inuktitut language for young readers. At the end of the book, a pronunciation guide is provided clearly showing the definition and English translation of this word. In addition, a link about Inuktitut language resources is included, providing a good resource for people who are more interested in how to pronounce Inuktitut words.
Young children will find it easy to relate to little Moar’s experiences of being scared of the unknown, such as the moon.
Yina Liu is a doctoral student in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.