“I never thought of that,” said the King.
from: Many Moons
written by James Thurber
new illustrations by Marc Simont
Harcourt, Inc., 1945 (text) 1990 (illus)
Once again, “perspective” pops to the front of my brain. How big, is the moon, or anything else for that matter. I know the house I grew up in is lots smaller now than it was then. The ride across town to Grandma’s took forever. That sundae I ate yesterday couldn't have been that big. You get what I mean.
The next new moon will appear as a tiny sliver in just a few days, on October 19. But a couple of weeks ago, a huge, orange, harvest moon rose above the treeline. It was magnificent. I remembered the first time I saw a harvest moon and laughed out loud.
I was driving home from my mom and dad’s house with my daughters, who were quite young.
“What’s that?” said one daughter in a loud voice.
“Yeah, what is that?” said the other.
I dared to take my eyes off the freeway and search the night sky. It took only about a millisecond to see what they were pointing to. It was a dome on the horizon. It was golden and glowing and getting bigger.
“I don’t know,” I said as calmly as I could. I was thinking UFO, aliens, abduction. But we watched it climb higher and higher. Soon, it became crystal clear. It was “just” the moon. The gorgeous, mysterious, inspiring moon.
How does the moon work? It really does not change shape. That’s a function of the Earth’s orbit. The moon affects tides, but I’m not sure about all that gravity. The science is still out on whether full moons affect when a pregnant woman goes into laboror if full moons affect behavior. Vampires and werewolves need full moons. The very word “lunatic” comes from Latin "luna.." And how about "moonstruck"?
Many authors have written about the moon. Here’s a short list of my favorites:
Frank Asch. Happy Birthday, Moon
Margaret Wise Brown. Goodnight Moon
Eric Carle. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me
Kevin Henkes. Kitten’s First Full Moon
James Thurber. Many Moons
Jane Yolen. Owl Moon
These stories don’t explain moon science. They help kids (and grown-ups) connect to the fascinating pull of the moon we share as fellow travelers in this mysterious universe we call home.