The Angry Moon
A weird legend without a point.
This is a weird book. It's based on a Native American legend from the Tlingit people in Alaska. Some of the designs have been adopted into the paintings used for illustration. Basically, there's a girl and a boy, and the girl makes fun of the moon for looking ugly. Then the moon takes her away and the boy follows her up to the sky country, taking some branches in his hair. On the way, the branches grow into bushes, so he starts eating the berries that are growing out of his own head, which is really weird. This random old woman who lives in the sky country sends her grandson to go get the boy and she gives him four random items and he goes and rescues the girl from a house where she is on fire or something. He uses all four of the random items to stop the moon from rolling after them. I guess the last one seems more permanent, because it's a stone that grows into a mountain, and the moon "could not climb it, but kept rolling helplessly up and down, again and again", which I guess sticks it there forever. Because at that point they're fine, and they go back down to earth, and then people come from miles around to hear their weird story.
Yeah, this is a weird book. Wow. The illustrations are strangely dark in color. They're not very bright, for having taken place in the sky country. Maybe it takes place at night? There's a lot of purples, and even when there's yellows and oranges, they're very dark.
It's a very surreal story. It doesn't really mean anything. It's almost like this legend came from somebody having a really bizarre dream and thinking, "Wow, that was the most interesting thing ever, now I have to tell everybody about it." The four objects he uses is more traditional from fairy tales and legends, but the rest seems out of nowhere. Many myths talk about the origins of things, but this doesn't. Nothing happens at the end. Nothing changes. They don't get anything from their experience except a story to tell. Nothing changes about the moon, as far as I can tell. I don't even know. It's weird. A lot of things happen but nothing really results from it.
The Angry Moon
I loved this book as a kid. The dark drawings are beautiful & moody. It did feel like a dream-- but in a good way. I'm not sure a book has to have an obvious "message" to be a good book. Anyhow, this is a story about devoted friendship-- the kid goes on this whole quest to save his friend. That was the message I got. But a book should be more than a "message." It should be an experience. When I look back on the books I read as a child, what stays with me is the feeling I got from them, not the overt messages.