May 2015, Fat Fox, , Review copy
Content: tissues needed
Summary from Fat Fox
Little Bell loves the Moon and the Moon loves Little Bell. Every night the Moon takes Little Bell’s hand and together they cross the oceans and the mountains on their adventures. Little Bell grows old and frail but one last flight with the Moon makes something very special happen to Little Bell. A wonderful rhyming tale of a little girl who grows up, gets old and turns into a bright star in the sky.
This book is one which will become a classic for so many readers. The style of illustration makes it feel like the kind of tale where anything can happen, even though Little Bell lives in an ordinary house and looks like any other child. . I love how the moon has a face and arms, making it look friendly, and how much fun Little Bell has on her journeys with the moon. I love almost all the backgrounds (not the one with a snake) as they expand on the journeys which Little Bell and the Moon take, making me wonder where I'd like to go and whether Little Bell went there. Random point which is slightly out of place I love the cute toy on Little Bell's bed, and how her cat appears in relevant pictures.
I knew the book was about death so I expected to need tissues and wasn't disappointed. However, I had a vague expectation in my mind of where and how the death might occur, and I turned out to be very wrong, which made me cry more. The issue of death really is talked about in a sensitive way, and approached so gently that at first I didn't realise what was happening. Little Bell's tale cleverly uses a few key features of death, without going into detail, and explores what could happen next after death.
This is definitely a book which inspires discussion about death. I loved having my theory proved wrong, I loved being surprised by what happened, and how that makes me look at the rest of the book (which I have and will). I look at Little Bell's story in a different light - in daylight, but this is a good night read. I don't think there's a risk readers will think they die in their sleep as it's made clear that that character has other factors which made her weak. Now, it's time for me to go read it one more time...
Find out more on Gile's website.
Check out another book by Giles, The Fearsome Beastie (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)
Question and Answer with Giles Paley-Phillips
Nayu here! It's with great delight that I had the opportunity to ask Giles a few questions about his powerful read, Little Bell and the Moon. Thanks for such an extraordinary read!
Nayu 1) What sparked off the idea for Little Bell’s tale?
Giles It was one night when my wife and I were walking to with a children and it was getting dark and I pointed out the moon and then the stars to my youngest son, who just said "When you look at a star it touches your heart' I found it such a profound thing for a 4 year old to say and that is what first inspired the story.
2) Yours is one of few picture books I’ve seen about dying, what do you hope readers gain after reading Little Bell and the Moon?
I think death in general is a very taboo subject, understandably of course, but my wife and I have always tried to talk openly about death, because we have both lost parents when we were young and we've always tried to be honest with our own children about it. So I hope that the book will maybe allow for a discussion to happen.
3) While working with Iris did any of the story change in response to her vision of the tale?
No, the text stayed pretty much the same, Iris has done an amazing job, her work is truly beautiful, I'm very lucky to have had her to illustrate this book, I can't thank the publisher enough for matching us on this book.
4) Can you give us a hint about what your next book is like? Will you write similar themed books?
My next book is a sequel to my book Things You Never Knew About Dinosaurs, this one is about Santa Claus!
Where’s your favourite place to write? What do you like to eat/drink while writing?
I mainly write at home, but I do try to keep a notebook with me, in case an idea strikes. I mainly drink fruit teas and water, although I am partial to a Fentiman's Ginger Beer!