Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Man in the Moon
Enderle, Dotti. 2008. MAN IN THE MOON. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385735667 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
Janine lives in rural Texas in 1961. She feels stifled by the ever-present heat, the boredom of living with sickly brother Ricky, and the wrath of an overprotective mother. Then a strange man literally appears from nowhere, and sends her world into a new phase. He is Mr. Lunas, someone who saved Janine’s father’s life in the war. His presence appears to be happenstance, and he is eating the poor family out of house and home. However, as Ricky’s sickness worsens, and as the moon enters one stage and then another, the reader realizes that Mr. Lunas has indeed landed in the family’s midst for a reason.
Enderle has a done a fine job constructing all the characters, but Janine’s mother is especially real. As money becomes scarce, as Ricky becomes gravely ill, and as Mr. Lunas appears to wear out his welcome, she logically reaches a snapping point, and takes out much of her frustration on Janine. Readers will relate well to Janine’s struggle with the family conflicts and to the uplifting relief that Mr. Lunas provides. Phases of the moon are the chapter titles, and add to the story’s enchantment.
The personification of the moon in this story provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the literary technique. Challenge children to find other examples of natural elements being personified in stories, poetry, even essays.
Other books that also personify the heavenly bodies:
Riordan, James. STORYTELLING STAR: TALES OF THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS. ISBN 9781862052024
Rylant, Cynthia. LONG NIGHT MOON. ISBN 9780689854262
By Rebecca S. McKee