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Many Moons (A Harcourt Brace contemporary classic) Paperback – September 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Buoyant watercolors, full of poignancy and subtle merriment, more than do justice to Thurber's beloved tale of a princess who asks for the moon, and the wise jester who presents her with it," said PW. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-- Although the Caldecott-winning edition illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (HBJ, 1943) is the one that many parents and librarians grew up with, this new full-color version by Simont has a charm of its own. His illustrations are more modern in appearance, although the essentially periodless style of dress on the characters has the timeless look that this literary fairy tale demands. Backgrounds are generally sketchy, giving the characters center stage. The clever Jester, dressed in fool's motley, is still the only one of the King's advisors who has the sense to ask Princess Lenore just what she expects when she asks for the moon. The pompous Lord High Chamberlain, the skatty Wizard, and the absent-minded Mathematician are as helpless as ever, and the little princess with her common sense and gap-toothed smile is charming. This will delight a whole new generation of children. --Rosanne Cerny, Queens Borough Public Library, NY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: A Harcourt Brace contemporary classic
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152018956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152018955
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Thurber (1894-1961) created some thirty volumes of humor, fiction, children's books, cartoons, and essays in just about as many years. A founding member of The New Yorker staff, Thurber wrote and illustrated such enduring books as The Thurber Carnival and My Life and Hard Times, which have appeared in countless editions and dozens of languages throughout the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Christina Connell on May 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Despite Rosemary Thurber's reassurances in the introduction to the reillustrated edition that a "new artist's point of view could be exciting," this new version is very disappointing. Louis Slobodkin's weird and wiggly drawings tinged in red and aqua have been replaced by Simont's conventional watercolor illustrations. While they are attractive, they are not, as Booklist describes them, a "bright, refreshing interpretation." Simont duplicates many of the scenes from the original, such as the doctor and king at the bedside of the princess or the princess skipping rope in the garden-though the text does not mention a jump rope. In the original, as the Lord High Chamberlain lists all the things he has gotten for the King, Slobodkin has the items frame the page as the Chamberlain unrolls a scroll in his hand; Simont does the same thing. When the Chamberlain says that the moon is bigger than the Princess's room, Slobodkin places the room inside the moon; Simont does the same thing. A scene-by-scene comparison reveals that Simont simply updates most of the original drawings. The two-page layout of the Princess holding her thumbnail up against the moon viewed through an arched window is an exact duplicate of the 1943 edition. Even the text on the two pages differs by only two sentences. I just do not accept the validity of this so-called "new" interpretation. Simont's literal and conventional depictions of the characters and setting actually move the story to a more ordinary level, while Slobodkin's strange squiggles keep the story in the realm of the imagination and give the tale a dream-like quality. Stick with the original.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The witty picture book is often considered to be a relatively new phenomenon. In this day and age there's an abundance of sly hip little books like "Olivia" or "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" everywhere you look. But clever picture books are by no means a new creation. I invite you to take a gander at the 1940s Caldecott winner, "Many Moons". If you don't find it the most sublime little work of art, I daresay I'll eat my hat.
In this story a little princess of ten years (going on eleven) become ill from eating, "a surfeit of raspberry tarts". The only cure she wishes for is for someone to get her the moon. Her father, the king, calls in his cleverest advisors, but no one can think of a way to bring the princess the moon. The court jester comes up with the answer, though by the end of the tale it is the princess who has shown true wisdom.
Author James Thurber is as equally well known for his witty cartoons in the "New Yorker" as he is for his books and articles. In this little gem he has taken his audience down a notch. Recognizing that wit and long words are just as appropriate for a five year old as a person of fifty, the book contains a series of delightful asides and ideas. For example, after listing his brilliant accomplishments to the king, the Royal Wizard points out that he also gave the king a cloak of invisibility.
"It didn't work," said the King. "The cloak of invisibility didn't work."
"Yes, it did," said the Royal Wizard.
"No, it didn't," said the King. "I kept bumping into things, the same as ever."
"The cloak is supposed to make you invisible," said the Royal Wizard. "It is not supposed to keep you from bumping into things."
"All I know is, I kept bumping into thing," said the King.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on November 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Princess Lenore wants the moon for her very own. And no amount of persuasion, cajolery, or distraction can dissuade her. Being a princess, she is used to getting what she wants...but this requests stumps the king and all his courtiers. Lenore grows ill waiting for the moon to be hers.
How many times did I read this charming book to my daughter? More than we can count. Long after she could read for herself, it was a favorite. My daughter is now 17 and thinking about college. And yet to this day, when we see a crescent moon shining brightly in the sky, we say, "It's Lenore's moon!"
A beautiful, timeless classic, short, sweet, and unforgettable.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The litmus-test for any children's book, in my opinion, is does it stand the test of time. When the child you gave it to picks it up ten, fifteen, twenty years later, will they still smile and read and say, I *love* this book!
This book passed the litmus-test with me. In fact, I still have the well-loved paperback copy from the years when I was still learning to read carefully set in my bookshelf. Thurber, as many know, is a master of story-telling, and "Many Moons" is moonlight-light and meaningful and absolutely *fun* at the same time, not once "talking down" to the reader. And Slobodkin's watercolors compliment Thurber's prose perfectly. It will be a book the child (or adult!) you give it to will enjoy for years and years to come. At least as long as the binding holds out.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book deserves many more than five stars for being the best children's book I have seen in exploring the individuality of perception. James Thurber's marvelous wit is employed in a most Dr. Seuss-like way here to teach a lesson and create a laugh or two in the process.
Princess Lenore (who is 10, soon to be 11) becomes ill when she eats too many raspberry tarts. Gazing out her window, she sees the shining moon. The king, her father, asks what he can do to help her recover. She replies that if he gives her the moon, "I will be well again."
Being a doting father, he sets out to get the moon for her. He calls in each of his wise men, one by one, and they give him lots of reasons why she cannot have the moon. And they also waste lots of time bragging about all of the things they have gotten for the king in the past. In despair, the king doesn't know what to do. He complains to the Court Jester, who makes a most reasonable suggestion. In order to get the moon for the princess, "The thing to do is to find out how big Princess Leonore thinks it is, and how far away."
The answer to the question leads to a temporary solution.
But then, a new problem arises: How to explain when the moon arises the following night. The Princess again helps the Court Jester find the answer.
The story is developed in a most humorous and light hearted way. The satire will be easily understood by even the youngest child. The "wise" men really know nothing, and the "fool" is really wise. But Princess Lenore has the most sense of any of them.
The book is greatly enhanced by loose, free-flowing watercolors in beautiful pastel tones done by illustrator Louis Slobodkin.
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