Luna and the Moon Rabbit
This is Camille Whitcher’s debut picture book: it’s the winner of the first Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and Salaria Book Company competition to find ‘the next big children’s author-illustrator’.
Camille’s inspiration for her book was the Far Eastern folk legend of the Moon Rabbit that her Japanese grandmother told her around the time of the ‘Otsukimi (moon-viewing) festival,’ when, in honour of the autumn moon, people make offerings of food to the moon.
It’s a lovely story that starts with Luna’s Grandma telling her about the Moon Rabbit and how he comes to visit those who leave him an offering of rice cakes.
Despite her scepticism, Luna places a rice cake on her windowsill and is rewarded by a visit from the rabbit.
Together child and rabbit embark on a magical nocturnal adventure taking them into dark woods aglow with fireflies
and fields mysteriously lit by dandelion flowers
and down to a river alive with koi.
It’s there that sleep gets the better of Luna and the Moon Rabbit takes her back home to her bedroom.
Mesmeric, dream-like images grace every spread: the colours and textures employed give a somnolent softness to the whole book and I love the mix of full-page, double spread and vignette illustrations. There’s a magical glow emanating from each one that further heightens the otherworldly quality of the story, a story that is ideal for bedtime sharing or as a calming interlude in a busy nursery or pre-school session. Either way it is likely to become a much-requested favourite.