CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 9 . . . . November 3, 2017
The writing in this atmospheric story is laced with nostalgic childhood memories. When the Moon Comes is a story of patience, passion and friendship. The author does not reveal a specific location for this story, but we know that it is in a small community where, when winter comes, it is cold and it settles in to stay for a while.
The story focuses on the first pond hockey game of the season, and the perfect ice conditions, the ice-cold temperature, the course of nature and the community traditions that surround it. Harbridge takes the reader on a little journey to the pond along with the children from the community. Under the full moon, we trudge through the snow with them, we feel the cold and the wet of the snow and ice, and we warm ourselves by the fire before the ice is cleared of snow for the game. We enjoy the game along with the children and feel and see all that they do thanks to the descriptive writing which transports us to the beaver flood.
Matt James' rich illustrations strengthen the story as, through his use of colour, they help us to imagine the depth of the cold. There is movement in the illustrations that reflects the speed and energy of the game that is played. The moon is large and bright and humbling, suspended in the frigid night sky as shadows of wildlife peek through the lush bush.
As the narrator settles into bed after returning home from the game, he can't sleep as he feels a pull from the moon to go back to the game that he and his friends enjoy so much. When the Moon Comes is truly a lovely book to enjoy with young children. Serve with a cup of hot chocolate.
Tamara Opar is Section Head of Children's and Teen Services at the Millennium Branch of Winnipeg Public Library.