Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser, translated by David Henry Wilson

I don't know why it took me so long to read and review this book. I loved Waiting for Winter and read this to much laughter from the kids every year.

So, the story begins with a wordless spread on the endpages, showing a cart full of objects, one of which bounces away and....lands on Squirrel's tree. Mr. Squirrel wakes up and immediately goes into full-blown panic. The moon has fallen out of the sky! People will think he has stolen it! Visions of himself in a tiny uniform, trapped in a jail cell ensue. Fortunately, he manages to get rid of the moon. Unfortunately, it lands on his friend Hedgehog....and so it goes, getting wilder and crazier, with more and more animals packed into the sad vision of the jail cell, until they finally manage to get rid of the moon (what's left of it anyways).

Sometimes translations work and sometimes they don't. This is a really excellent one that captures the dry humor and wacky personalities of the various animals, from the panic-stricken squirrel to the angry billy goat, delighted mice, and resigned Hedgehog.

The jail scenes are in stark shades of black, white and gray, but the rest of the illustrations are dominated by the great, round, yellow globe of the "moon". Squirrel has a little red shading and there are a few bits of color on the leaves, grass, and other animals, but the bulk of this story is told through the increasingly hysterical text and clever use of illustrations. The sketches, like the coloring, are understated for the most part but convey a vivid feeling of movement and action as each fresh stage of crisis emerges.

Verdict: This doesn't have quite the wide child appeal of Winter, but it's still a hilarious and clever story that children and grownups will appreciate. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780735841567; Published 2015 by NorthSouth; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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