"It’s nearly time for the moon to rise, and all of nature knows what that means. “The moon’s almost here./ Mama duck drifts to shore,” writes Newbery Medalist MacLachlan in lullaby-like verse. “Ducklings swim after:/ One, two, three, and four.” On the porch of a house, a dog “curls in a ball/ And closes his eyes.” The sky gradually turns from light turquoise to lavender to deep navy, and the moon makes its much-heralded entrance in the final pages, a glowing white ball. Witnessing it all are two figures: a redheaded boy in an old-fashioned nightgown and an adult in a white clown outfit and white makeup. Adult readers may recognize the latter as the iconic pantomime character Pierrot, cast as a doting father (parents explaining this reference can use the opportunity to introduce another commedia character, Pulcinella, who partly inspired dePaola’s Strega Nona). DePaola’s openhearted, virtuosic artistry reveals a deep connection between the pair, with the boy often echoing his father’s theatrical miming gestures. Together, pictures and text establish their own reality—one that’s immensely reassuring. Ages 4–8."
-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Working his usual magic, dePaola illustrates this gentle good-night story with the characters Pierrot and his redheaded child. Waiting for the moon to rise, the two walk through the meadow towards home. They observe robins returning to the nest for bedtime and a mama sheep hurrying her lambs home as the sun goes away.
Simple rhyming text tells the story:
“The moon’s almost here. / Mama duck drifts to shore. / Ducklings swim after: / One, two, three, four.” As father and child return home, fireflies appear, and the pair, along with their dog and kitten, welcome the white moon: “So big / and so bright.”
The gorgeous palette, with enchanting double-spread illustrations, shows the daytime colors of blue sky as they morph slowly from light aqua to a deep cerulean tinged with pink clouds as the sun disappears. Finally, against a deep indigo background, the huge moon is overwhelmingly beautiful, occupying the whole page. This enchanting bedtime tale is sure to lead sleepyheads to dreamland"