Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale

What It Is

A little baby girl is born in China to poor parents who lovingly decide that she should have a better life. Under the watch of the moon, they send her off, Moses-style, in a basket down the river. From there, she is gently carried halfway around the world from one animal to variety of others, including a turtle, peacock and panda bear. Meanwhile, a couple presumably in the U.S., have wished and wished for a baby with no luck. One night, the moon indicates that a baby will arrive, and they search high and low to find the sweet moon baby floating among the water lilies. They bring her home and enjoy life as a happy family.

Why It’s Fun

Adoption can be a complex concept for young minds and this book offers a loving and gentle introduction. Though the actual journey of the baby to the adoptive parents is a fantasy, kids should be able to grasp the notion of a child joining a family that may not have “come out of her mommy’s belly” or who may look different from her parents. This is Karen Henry Clark’s first children’s book, and it was inspired by her experience with adopting a baby from China. Patrice Barton’s illustrations are beautiful, and as sweet and soothing as rocking with a newborn.

Who’s Going To Love It

This new book would be a nice tool for parents who want to introduce the topic to children, however the publisher’s recommended age range of 5-8 is inappropriate. Kids toward the older end of the age range may have been more exposed to the “process” of adoption through friends or personal experience, and creating a fantasy about it is, at best, confusing. Kids on the younger end (say 3 or 4 who still relate more strongly to this kind of fantasy) may also enjoy and learn from the story, however, they may be startled at the idea of parents giving a baby away and sending it down a river, and parents should be prepared for the inevitable “why” questions as kids try to make sense of the tale. This aside, the soothing tone and Illustrations make it a nice read-aloud story at bedtime. You would be well advised to give this book a read on your own before buying to make sure it’s right for your child.

Reading Time

About 4 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

6 out of 10

Book Information

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale
By: Karen Henry Clark, Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $17.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 5 - 8


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