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