HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer
Author: Tonya Bolden
Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014
Related website: http://www.abramsbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 4 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bolden, Tonya. Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer (published in 2014 by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams, 115 W. 18th St., New York City, NY 10011). When you go to bed each evening, for whom do you pray? It is the middle of the night in the city with a bright moon shining down. A little boy wakes up, scrambles out of his bed, and drops to his knees because he forgot to say his prayers. Just before he prays, he sees the beautiful moon out of his window. He prays for the homeless, the soldiers, the sick, and the hungry, and also for Grandma Grace, Mommy, Daddy, his baby sister Sydney, his turtle Mikey, and his teacher, while the beautiful moon goes on its way. What do you think that he promises not to do tomorrow night?
This is a cute book. Now, if I wanted to be picky, I could note that while this little boy prays, nowhere does the text say to whom (or what) he prays. He could be praying to God, to Allah, to Buddha, or even to the moon which he sees. Perhaps Bolden left it that way to make the book “inclusive.” One reviewer praised the book for recognizing the diversity of the world around us, although I suspect that this has reference primarily to the multicultural subjects in Velasquez’s life-like illustrations. Of course, those of us who are Bible believers would naturally assume that he is praying to God, and Christian or Jewish parents can easily make this clear in reading the book to their children.
With this understanding, I will have to say that any book which celebrates prayer and encourages being concerned about others less fortunate than we are is to be commended. Award‑winning author Tonya Bolden has written a number of books for children and adults which have gained her many honors. Acclaimed illustrator Eric Velasquez, who has also won several awards for his illustrations in numerous books for children, made the drawings for Beautiful Moon in mixed media and oil on watercolor paper. The two team up to create an emotionally satisfying and richly painted book which offers an easily understood message about how important prayer can be in people’s lives.