The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon by David Almond

45430069Lynn: I adore David Almond’s books. I don’t think I’m smart enough to always understand them but I relish the reading experience and the places he takes me with his writing. Still, for all my unabashed fascination, I wouldn’t have said that his writing would work well for young children. I was so wrong! The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon (Candlewick 2010) is delightful and, while still clearly signature Almond, is perfectly suited to youngsters. Quiet Paul “doesn’t like school and school doesn’t like him” and every so often on a rare day his parents let him stay home. On this day Paul suddenly decides to touch the sky and so begins his adventure. Before the day ends Paul discovers astonishing things about the moon, the people in his apartment and himself. Think Roald Dahl with great parents. The story is whimsical, ethereally over-the-top and sweet. I was completely charmed and Polly Dunbar’s wonderful illustrations are the icing on the cake. This smile-inducing book is perfect for reading aloud, snuggled up with a child.

Cindy: I’m an unabashed Almond fan, too, but the biggest problem with his books is finding the right audience for them on this side of the pond, and this one is no different, even though it’s for a younger reader. For the parents and librarians who are always on the quest for a challenging book for a very young advanced reader, this is one to add to your arsenal.  The writing is gorgeous and absurd, the vocabulary and plotting is challenging for the audience, but the story is full of wacky humor and somber insight all folded into a romp of an adventure to the moon and back. When I was a young reader living in a very rural area I loved finding books set in high rise apartments in big cities. The thought of having an elevator and all of those close neighbors was fascinating to me. This book brought back feelings of those early books even though the titles are long forgotten. And my parting comment? How can you not love a book that offers this advice: “Sausages are better than war?”


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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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