Emma Allen (text) and Sher Rill Ng (illustrator), The Night of the Hiding Moon, National Library of Australia, March 2020, 40 pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780642279583
The Night of the Hiding Moon is a wonderful new book that would be a terrific resource in school and home libraries. It contains a very lovely story based on a little boy, Felix. While in his bed he grows scared of a storm and creates a way to overcome his fears using shadows. He becomes brave and sets off on a dream-like adventure into the night, goggles, scarf, and torch in hand.
From my very first read I liked this book. The images were just so captivating. I kept trying to think if I had seen similar illustrations before. Sometimes I was reminded of Dan Santat’s work, as he uses a lot of light and dark contrasts. The shadow puppet characters also have a distinctive Asian style in their rendering which is eye-catching and really sets the mood for the story. I think children who are not reading independently yet could just about follow the storyline (or create one of their own) using the illustrations alone.
At the end of the book there are several pages giving readers historical information about the traditions, techniques, and styles of shadow puppets. This section also provides vivid and interesting photos and some instructions to make your own shadow puppets. This would be terrific to use in a school (or home) classroom to lead into a session of puppet making.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell