Willoughby & the Moon
What It Is
Children have fantasized about the moon for centuries and this book tells the tale of a young boy, Willoughby, who goes in search of the moon one night when it “disappears” from outside his bedroom window. He discovers that his closet is a gateway to a lunar land, which he bravely enters. He meets a giant snail who employs his help to find his favorite silver ball. As he courageously leads the snail across the moon’s terrain, they discover an old moon buggy and space pod, which they use in their search. They come across a cave and the boy convinces the scared snail to enter, where they find other snails. The story ends with Willoughby and the snails playing ball together before he must say good-bye and re-enter his bedroom for a good night’s sleep.
Why It’s Fun
The fun part of this book are the illustrations which are very unique for a children’s book. Author-illustrator Greg Foley used mostly black backgrounds with silver and white illustrations, making it an artistically cool book to look at. Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t live up to the bold ground that Foley entered with his graphics. The story roughly jumps from riding a moon buggy to a space pod, and then to a cave where the boy and giant snail find a bunch of other snails playing ball. Huh? It’s just odd, and things such as giant snails playing with silver balls seem like a drug-induced hallucination. More importantly, the logic may be baffling to younger kids who will try to make sense out of the fantasy.
Who’s Going To Love It
Kids may think the graphics are cool but will probably give the book an “it’s okay” rating. The message of the book seems to center around the boy’s bravery, but it gets lost in the bizarre chain of events. If you and your kids are fans of Mr. Foley’s first “Willoughby” book, then check this one out at the library before purchasing it.
About 3 minutes
5 out of 10
Willoughby & the Moon
By: Written and Illustrated by Greg Foley
Published by: Balzer & Bray, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (2010)
Approximate retail price: $18.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 7