________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 29 . . . . March 30, 2018


Behind the Moon.

Elsie Archer.
Regina, SK: YNWP, 2017.
37 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-988783-07-9.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Kristen Ferguson.

** /4



"Those stars," continued Marjorie, "are actually holes that God poked through the sky with His fingers. The light shining behind it is from Jesus and the angels."

Elsie gasped in excited amazement. She was certain she could see the angels moving about through the openings.

"I wish I could see behind the moon," she said longingly. She had heard all about the pearly gates and the streets of gold.

Heaven sounded so lovely.

Behind the Moon, written and illustrated by Elsie Archer, is an autobiographical picture book about Elise and her sister Marjorie growing up during World War II. The two girls believe that the moon is the "door to heaven". Then one day, the news of the atomic bomb rattles the girls' understanding because the sky above them in Canada still looks so peaceful. internal art

      They try lifting themselves up in the air to get to heaven, and also consider building a ladder to heaven. But they then remember the story that their mother told them, "My Father's house has many rooms … I am going to prepare a place for you." The girls then have an epiphany that they need not try to get to heaven, as Jesus will come for them. They go to bed and pray:

"Dear Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for us. We know that we can't get to heaven all by ourselves. We were only pretending. Amen."

She poked Elsie, who then prayed: "Dear Jesus, we remember that You are always with us, and we don't have to be afraid of bombs or anything, because You promised to keep us safe. Amen."

internal art      The book is presented with a page of text and on the opposite page is a painting illustrated by Archer, herself. The paintings are detailed with pastoral and childhood imagery. The last pages of the book are a collage of photographs of Archer's family along with a biographical note about the author/illustrator.

      Behind the Moon is a deeply religious text. On the back cover, it states, "Elsie [Archer] hopes to serve God by bringing beauty into a broken and hurting world." Behind the Moon is a comforting message for Christian children. However, for this same reason, the book would have limited general appeal and use for teachers and librarians in public schools. Due to heavy religious content, this book would be most appropriate for Christian Sunday schools, Christian schools, and home libraries.

Recommended with Reservations.

Dr. Kristen Ferguson teaches literacy education at the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University in North Bay, ON.

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