By: Stuart French
Illustrated by: Francisco Fonseca
Publisher: Ethicool Books
Publication Date: November 10, 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: March 9, 2023
Grandparents are one of the most wonderful gifts bestowed on a child - their love and devotion to their beloved grandchildren knows no bounds. But with great love can come devastating loss when a grandparent passes away. When Grandpa Was The Moon addresses this issue in a gentle and caring way that children can understand.
When Grandpa Was The Moon is narrated by a young boy whom we meet about halfway through the story. He starts his tale by telling the reader that the moon is an artist "and he paints with the evening light..." On the two-page spread that accompanies this text is a gorgeous illustration of the moon, smiling and shining brightly while an elderly gentleman with a paintbrush carefully paints the sky. Turn the page, and we meet the same grandpa, dancing on the ocean's waves, while again, the moon is brightly lighting the night sky.
On the following page, the narrator asks,
"Did you know the moon is watching
and the clouds hold his thoughts so tight,
He gathers all your kindness
and turns it into light."
The story continues as the child tells the reader of all the wonderful things the moon does - the moon is a teacher, the moon is an artist - and then he admits that he is lonely. At this point, the story takes a sad, but heartwarming turn as the child tells us,
"I know the moon's a grandpa
and his stories keep me warm,
He felt that I was crying
and my little heart was torn."
Through the child, we learn that the moon is a grandpa, and the child's imagination sees the grandpa telling bedtime stories to him. But could it be? Is the moon his grandpa? And is his grandpa always by his side?
When I was assigned When Grandpa Was The Moon, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd never reviewed a child's book on dealing with the death of a loved one. Would it be depressing? Perhaps the book would make me, and by extension, a young reader, sad and teary-eyed? But I was thrilled to discover that this story dealt with the death of a grandparent in a sensitive and tender way. The story is beautifully written and brings a very positive message to the child reading the book. It encourages a child's imagination to envision that the missed grandparent is always nearby. The story, however, is not the only thing that makes When Grandpa Was The Moon a standout - the illustrations are absolutely stunning. The artist, Francisco Fonseca, has illustrated several children's books, and while he specializes in drawing European houses, he can add landscapes that feature an adorable moon to his resume. His drawings truly added a unique and gorgeous element to the book. Wrap up all the components of this story, and you have an excellent resource to share with a child who is dealing with the unthinkable loss of a grandparent.
Quill says: When Grandpa Was The Moon bravely takes on the death of a grandparent with a story that will both reassure and comfort a child who is experiencing the great loss of a deeply loved grandparent.
For more information on When Grandpa Was The Moon, please visit the publisher's website at: https://ethicoolbooks.com/products/when-grandpa-was-the-moon-kids-book