“Rich illustrations, a creative story, and a likable polar bear combine in this debut story.”
On an exciting night for Emile the polar bear, he learns his fellow “night creatures” have selected him as the new moon keeper. Honored by the important task, Emile begins keeping watch over the moon, which includes visiting the moon, shooing away bats, and clearing away obscuring clouds. Soon, Emile is alarmed to see the moon is getting smaller each night. He offers the moon some food—a slice of watermelon—and even calls his “cousin in in the jungle”—a leopard holding a red landline phone—who confirms the moon is looking smaller to him, too. Emile is reassured, though, by a big, green bird who tells him, “Things come and go—you’ll see.” Not long after, the moon reappears and again grows to its full size. Next to a resolution that is too simple, the biggest problem with a story idea that is otherwise creative and fun is that the story requires suspending belief that Emile and other characters should have noticed the moon going through its phases before, a difficult ask. Zosienka’s creativity and humor is delightful, with Emile walking through the sky vacuuming clouds, offering a partially eaten watermelon to the moon, and having a leopard for a cousin. Comically as well, the big, green bird is, for some unexplained reason, literally as big as Emile, a fully grown polar bear. Zosienka’s colored pencil and gouache illustrations are warm, rich, and full of delightful character fitting her likable, moon-keeping polar bear.
Fall in love with this moving and magical picture book about a sweet, conscientious polar bear, the moon, and the special connection they share.
Illustrated with a classic feel and told with a refreshing voice, The Moon Keeper is a perfect bedtime story with gentle messages about friendship, impermanence, and nature that will appeal to fans of Kitten’s First Full Moon, Rabbit Moon, and Little Bear.
Emile, a very responsible polar bear, has a new job as moon keeper. He spends his evenings making sure the moon has everything it needs to shine its light over the night creatures.
Night after night he keeps watch over the moon—clearing away the clouds and telling the fruit bats to move along when they play too close.
Emile finds the moon nice to talk to in the stillness of the night. But what happens when the moon starts to change and slowly disappears? In a lovely and touching series of small investigations, consultations with neighbors, and a fair amount of worry, he learns that in life, things come and go—and it’s okay.
Zosienka’s debut as author-illustrator is the rare moon-themed picture book that shows the phases of the moon through brilliant childlike storytelling.
Emile is honored to be asked to care for the moon. He is diligent with the work it requires. What work would you like to do? How can you do it diligently like Emile?
Emile worries as the moon starts to disappear. He turns to others for help—his family and his friends. When you are worried, who can you talk to?
Zofia “Zosienka” Gibbs was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Polish and English parents. She studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London and went on to a career in stop-motion animation, illustration, and print design. She illustrated Baby Bird by Andrew Gibbs, but The Moon Keeper is her first picture book as author and illustrator. Visit her at www.zosienka.com.
I wanted to write a story that would reassure insecure children that they are not alone, especially at night. The moon is a presence everyone on earth can rely on . . . but even the moon disappears from time to time. So if the child can learn to trust that the moon will come back, they too can trust that they will be safe until their parents’ return.
I was writing another story when the inspiration came for The Moon Keeper. I was wondering who might be reading that story and imagined my best friend’s baby girl picking up my book when she was old enough to read. And I wondered some more, what she would really like to read about? Her mother, my best friend, loves polar bears so I pictured him, a big white curious bear and saw him looking up into the night sky. My friend was also looking for a moon chart to hang in her daughter’s bedroom at the time and so emerged my second character; the full moon.
For Louisa and Ada