Luna and the Moon Rabbit by Camille Whitcher

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Published by Scribblers, an imprint of The Salariya Book Company, 2018.

Luna and the Moon Rabbit is the début picture book by author/illustrator Camille Whitcher. It’s a beautiful night-time adventure inspired by the author’s Japanese heritage.

Luna and her grandmother are looking at the moon. Luna’s grandmother tells her the story of the Moon Rabbit who is sometimes visible in the moon, pounding rice to make rice cakes. She explains that the Moon Rabbit will come to visit Luna if she leaves a rice cake out for him. So, she leaves a rice cake on her window sill and the Moon Rabbit appears. Together, he and Luna set out on a moonlit adventure through the woods and fields.

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With its muted night-time palette of greys and blues, this is a soothing soporific tale filled with dreamy landscapes. There’s a lovely delicacy to the illustrations: the brilliant moon hanging in the sky with its reflection glistening in the water; fireflies glowing in tiny spheres of light; fragile dandelion seeds blowing in the breeze; and the silver foiled stars glistening on the front cover. Occasionally, there will be a vibrant burst of colour; there’s the yellow of the dandelion field and the orange of the carp. These pops of colour are really striking and make the images stand out from the page.

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I loved the book’s Japanese influences: the domestic setting of the single-storey home with its window screens; Grandma’s kimono; the Koi carp in the river and the wooden bridge across it. Camille’s gorgeous illustrative style is also influenced by Japan; Luna’s large cartoon-like eyes evoke Japanese anime and Studio Ghibli films.

This is a magical bedtime tale – just perfect for snuggling up with at the end of the day.

Luna and the Moon Rabbit is the winner of the inaugural Stratford-Salariya Picture Book Prize, a competition held by the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and Salariya Book Company to find a picture book by an unpublished author/illustrator.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 2+

Thank you to Scribblers for sending me this book to review. I reviewed it as part of the Luna and the Moon Rabbit blog tour where Camille talked to me about the influence of her Japanese heritage. You can read her guest post here.

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