Sonderbooks Book Review of

How To Be on the Moon

by Viviane Schwarz

How To Be on the Moon

by Viviane Schwarz

Review posted July 12, 2022.
Candlewick Press, 2019. 32 pages.
Review written April 23, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

How To Be on the Moon is an exuberant adventure of the imagination from the author of one of my favorite picture books, Timothy and the Strong Pajamas.

We start out seeing two characters playing, with no explanation of how they got to be friends. They're playing a game in a room and Anna looks out the window and decides she wants to go to the moon. Crocodile has some practical objections.

"Hang on," said Crocodile. "We will need special skills to go to the moon."

"What skills?" asked Anna.

"Math. Without math, it will go wrong."

"I can do math," said Anna.

"Can you count backward?" asked Crocodile.

"Five, four, three, two, one," Anna said. "Zoom!"

After some more obstacles overcome, Anna makes a rocket while Crocodile makes sandwiches. I like the way the rocket looks like a playground rocket, complete with a slide. After they blast off and are floating, they play "Crocodiles in Space":

The rules were: If you caught all the parts of a sandwich, you got to eat the sandwich. If you caught anything else, it didn't taste as nice.

They both won.

They have the fun of landing on the Moon and exploring. I love the quirky details like remembering to eat a sandwich before they put on their space helmet because it's difficult afterward. After some wonder and joyful play, they decide Earth misses them and head back home. I like this bit of insight:

"Being far away feels just the same as being very small when you're missing someone," said Anna.

And here's the exuberant finish:

"Earth!" said Crocodile. "We are on Earth!"

"We went to the moon!" said Anna. "It was almost impossible!"

"But we had the skills!"

"And now we are back home! You can stop worrying. Look, the Earth is everywhere! It is huge!"

"I'm not worried. You always stayed the right size," said Crocodile. "That's the main thing."

"You too," said Anna. "We are very good at that. Let's go and check on the rest of the world, just in case."

And they did.

Check this one out to see the joyful pictures for yourself. This would be fun to try in a preschool storytime.