It’s one of the wonders (and certainties) of life that no matter who and where you are, the same moon looks down on you at night.
The concept remains as mind-blowing to me as an adult as it did when I was little like Baby Bookworm, which is one of the many reasons I find Maybe The Moon such a charming book.
It tells the story of a boy called Eric who lives a happy, colourful life in the forest with his animal friends until his mother takes him to live in the city. Everything is strange and grey – even the moon looks different – but as he explores, he finds new beauty, new friends and realises he will never be alone when he has the moon.
Not only is this a debut by illustrator Frances Ives, but it is the very first fiction picture book by British publisher Michael O’Mara, under its LOM Art imprint. Frances was chosen to lead the way after winning the 2016 LOM Art prize, with judges praising her “inventive and original” work.
She says it was inspired by her own experience of moving from London to the countryside and she set out to create a story about how change, while daunting, can always be a positive experience if you embrace it.
For my part, as someone who has adored living in two very big cities and loves the community spirit and hidden magic within them, I was incredibly taken with the rich artwork and the positive message.
To celebrate the book’s release this week, we’ve joined the Maybe The Moon blog tour and asked Frances to pick her favourite five. In keeping with the story, she’s chosen picture books to make you think about life…
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers. £14.99 (hardback), HarperCollins Children’s
“A beautiful take on all of the good things in the world, and a gentle reminder to be kind to the earth and ourselves, in Oliver Jeffers stunning illustrations. What’s not to love?! That he’s addressing his son and the youngest generation makes it all the more important to me.”
The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin. £12.99 (hardback), Walker
“I’ve loved Laura Carlin’s work ever since hearing her speak at university, but The Promise touched my heart. It’s a lovely story about how one person can make a difference to the world, just by planting a few seeds.”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s
“A little different from the classic The Cat in the Hat, this is about what life can throw at you, and that it isn’t always easy …‘But on you will go!’. A little self-confidence and determination can go a long way, and everyone needs reminding of that sometimes!”
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake. £6.99 (paperback), Walker
“Quentin Blake’s iconic drawing gently and empathetically brings to life what sadness can be and what it can do to a person. This book feels really important for everyone to me, and one I go back to time and time again.”
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield. £6.99 (paperback), Lincoln Children’s Books
“What a beautiful book! The colours are so rich and create the atmosphere, and I could stare at the details for hours, but for me this is about the importance of friendships and feeling at home.”
Maybe The Moon by Frances Ives is out on 20 September. £12.99 (hardback), LOM Art. Find out more about Frances’s work at francesives.com
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