BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale by Karen Henry Clark, illustrated by Patrice Barton

Sweet Moon BabyOh my, oh my … “On a summer night in China, a baby girl was born. She was perfect.” So begins this sublimely wondrous new picture book about how families get made, even when those family members are born thousands of miles away from one another.

Inspired by author Karen Henry Clark’s own adoption of her daughter – “Our Moon Journey” over the Pacific, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Maoming, and Xinyi which led to that July 1997 adoption serves as the book’s preface – Sweet Moon Baby is two stories that come together … just like the two families that merge to create one perfect whole.

On one side of the world, a couple in China realizes they “‘barely have enough rice to feed themselves,'” and decide they “‘must trust the moon [that] [o]nly good things will happen to our daughter.'” The couple places her in a sturdy basket and sets her adrift on a gentle river. The baby slumbers during her moonlit journey, unknowingly aided by a protective turtle, peacock, panda, and more.

On the other side of the world, a childless couple are sleepless as they wait for a daughter of their own. In spite of the most caring preparations – planting carrots and peas, nurturing fruit trees for pies and climbing, preparing her a room filled with books – “[s]till, she never came.” Looking out one night, they decide to follow the “moon’s kind face,” and embark on a great journey. “Then there she was, their sweet moon baby,” who finally awakes to see “the smiling faces of her mother and father.”

As sweet as the story is, Patrice Barton‘s illustrations infuse the words with beckoning whimsy and warmth. Just look at that utterly trusting cherubic face on the cover, surrounded by the lullaby of softly swirling water as the moonglow guards her slumber. WOW … brings new peace to the oft-used phrase, ‘sleep like a baby.’ Every page is a little wonder … with the final spread a major tug to the heartstrings: the now grown little girl is cozily tucked in that perfect room, surrounded by the animal guardians who protected her journey, the moon just outside as “she dreams of a baby girl born on a summer night in China.”

Sigh upon sigh … you can’t leave me sniffling alone … come share this extraordinary family journey indeed.

Readers: Children

Published: 2010



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