full moon

Thursday, September 29, 2022 |

New, impeccably designed picture books that appeal to a discerning artistic eye AND to kiddos are sometimes hard to find. It’s my favorite sort of picture book to gift – not only to give my friends-who-are-parents a break, but also because as a child, I was fascinated most by the picture books that weren’t endlessly cheery cartoonish escapes, and instead had what felt like grown-up art, excellent use of negative space, and details to pore over read after reread. In case you too are looking for this sort of picture book, Princeton Architectural Press publishes several each year! And while I missed it when it came out in 2021, I’m happy to report that Camilla Pintonato’s Full Moon fits the mold beautifully.


full moon by camilla pintonato book cover
As the sun sets, the little gray rabbits are busy in their secret workshop, but what could they be making? Follow along as the rabbits prepare for the big event, inviting all of their forest friends to the celebration. The mice, foxes, porcupines, and other forest creatures gather as the full moon rises, and finally the big surprise is revealed. The little rabbits release beautiful paper lanterns into the sky, where they sparkle like stars in the light of the full moon.

Camilla Pintonato's endearing illustrations invite us into a secret world, where wonders take place while the humans are away and the animals play. Striking, full-spread images of the rising moon and sun illuminate the magical way the natural cycle of the sky unites us in wonder, giving children a connection to nature they can experience from anywhere in the world.


I was immediately charmed by cover art featuring small gray rabbits wearing bright orange backpacks. If you were too, let me assure you: Pintonato’s story lives up to that first charming image. Created originally as a wordless picture book, and then published first in French and now in English, Full Moon is a nighttime adventure full of animals, mystery, and important questions – such as, “What are they carrying in their backpacks?” The answer to that includes forest shenanigans and lots of industrious bunnies, and is a fun, fresh flight of imagination.


In Full Moon, author-illustrator Pintonato taps into some enduring themes and visuals in children’s books: what happens when the world goes to sleep, the movement of the planets, the wonder of the natural world, and whimsical, personified animal societies. These will be familiar to little ones and adults alike from classic picture books such as Goodnight Moon. However, Pintonato puts her own spin on these themes with humor and illustrations full of vibrant color and detail. The rabbits are preparing for a big event, and they have many things to coordinate to make it happen! I think my favorite page was the one of the bunny with the orange flags, directing the start of the “show.”


The story would not have the same impact without Pintonato’s excellent art. When you first open the book, you’ll notice that the endpapers are illustrations of sunrise, and throughout several page spreads break from the busy world of the bunnies on the ground to look at the night sky above. This alternating focus slows the pacing down and makes it a perfect bedtime read. Pintonato’s fuzzy linework and varied colors feel reminiscent of the bleed of water-based markers and watercolors, but her illustrations are created completely in Photoshop. My brain wanted to say that it was all hand drawn, so I looked up that fact to confirm. After taking in the art, you might be similarly amazed!


In all, Full Moon is a delightful picture book about what animals might get up to after small children are tucked in bed. Its whimsical art is sure to appeal to both children and the adults reading aloud to them.


Recommended for: read alouds and storytimes, children ages 3 and up, and anyone who likes rabbits, parties, tales about the moon, and beautiful books that demand several rereads.

No comments:

Newer Posts Older Posts Home