Kissed By The Moon
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This touching story, by Alison Lester, is framed as a parent's wish for a brand new baby. Each page details a beautiful experience that the parent hopes the child will encounter.
"May the morning sun warm you, the evening breeze cool you...May you, my baby, eat from the garden, be kind to its creatures and smile at the flowers."
The experiences that the adult wishes for the child are all positive and meaningful. There is a particular emphasis on connecting the child with nature and with tactile, sensory experiences.
The book is careful to leave the characters of the story open to interpretation. The text avoid any pronouns or identifying features - the child is "my baby" but is never identified as a male or a female. The speaker, whose voice we hear bestowing these wishes, is also never identified by gender or by role. It could, therefore, just as easily be the voice of a mother or father, a grandparent or carer. This allows the story to flow beautifully and authentically, regardless of who is reading it to the child.
The illustrations are similarly open-ended. The child is shown throughout as being somewhat gender ambiguous - appearing in gender neutral clothing and wearing all sorts of colours, including (but not limited to) both pink and blue. The adult figures in the book are rarely in focus, often appearing in the background or in a supporting role to the child (just like, in life, the child will be exploring the world independently but with the love and security of a watchful adult). When adult figures are shown the illustrator has been careful to include both male and female characters so that, again, the book does not imply a hierarchy of relationships or a specific 'voice'. We rarely see the face of the adults - they appear only briefly in the final pages and are in 'profile' - which seems to be to allow the child to focus on, and perhaps subconsciously 'project', the features of the adult who is reading the book.
This beautifully illustrated, hardback book would be perfect as part of a bedtime routine. It could become a beautiful family tradition to share this story each night before bed. Reading it regularly will help to remind a beloved child that their family wishes the very best of happiness and joy in life.