MUSIC FOR MISTER MOON. Written by Philip C. Stead. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Neal Porter Books. $18.99.
Harriet Henry loves to play her cello, but not for audiences. Just the thought makes her hot and sweaty. Instead, she imagines her room into a cozy house with a table, chair, fireplace, and her teacup—a perfect place for solitary playing. One night while playing, an owl hoots outside. Angry at his intrusion, she tosses her teacup out of the window at him. Smoke fills her little house and she realizes that her teacup has knocked the moon from the sky! He is stuck in her chimney! After rescuing him, Harriet discovers that the moon is actually chilly and lonely up there in the sky. First, she gets him a fine striped woolen hat. Then, she takes him on a boat ride. But, what should she do when he asks her to play her cello for him? Will she overcome her fear to help her new friend? MUSIC FOR MISTER MOON has a dreamy allegorical feel to it. This is perfectly complemented by Erin Stead’s softly textured illustrations. Muted colors, primarily yellow and green, evoke a moonlit night. Other animal characters add charm as they offer to help Harriet fulfill Mister Moon’s dreams because he once helped them. Thus, the theme of friendship comes back around in new ways. The message of the role of friendship in overcoming fears is gently conveyed. This is a charming book, another successful collaboration between Philip and Erin Stead, who were guests at this summer’s Mazza Institute.