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The Vine

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The Vine: January 31, 2014

Submitted by on January 31, 2014 – 9:32 AM7 Comments


This was back in the early '80s. I must have been around five when I found the book the first time.

I remember borrowing it from the library for years and far past the point where it was appropriate for my reading level. Were my mother still alive today she'd know the name of the book — alas, that knowledge is now lost to the world, and so I turn to the collective memories of the Nation.

From what I can recall, the story revolved around two children, a boy and a girl (siblings, cousins?) who have to escape the Moon. I believe the boy may have shot it with an arrow — after being warned not to — and caused it to crash down to the ground. The story from there has them trying to escape the Moon's wrath. I want to say the story was interpreted from folklore — perhaps Central or Native American? I could be completely off-base about the origins of the story, but I know the children were not Caucasian.

What drew me to the book as a child (I was a pretty strange kid) is that it was pretty scary for a children's book. The illustrations were vibrant, albeit of a primitive style, perhaps cut paper? The Moon, in particular, was incredibly scary-looking as it chased the children. I wish I could remember how the children were saved, but it's been so long I am surprised I remember as much as I have already.

I've searched the interwebz from time to time, but finding a specific children's story about the Moon is like trying to find a specific A-B-C book. I'd be tremendously grateful if anyone out there knows what book I'm talking about — or can even vaguely recall the same story and confirm I didn't just dream up an entire swath of childhood memories.

Thanks so much,

Shooting For The Moon

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  • Jane says:

    I'm wondering if there's a memory cross-thread here with Gerald McDermott's Arrow to the Sun, because that description would fit that book's art.

  • Emily G says:

    Hey, is it Anpao? There was a part with the moon very similar to what you described; it's all I really remember about the book because it was so scary, even though that doesn't seem to be the main story of the book. And if not, Anpao was essentially a pastiche of different Native American myths, so what you're looking for might be a different adaptation of the same root story.

  • Zipper says:

    The Angry Moon by William Sleater?

  • Jane says:

    Oh, I bet Zipper nailed it. That looks really right, and it was a Caldecott Honor so would still have been in libraries.

  • Shannon says:

    Book seeker here! Oh, wow – Zipper, I can't believe it, I think you did nail it! Goodreads has a cover that looks exactly right. I guess it is out of print… the prices I've found online are a bit steep to just order without confirmation, but my local library has a copy available so in the morning I'm heading up to check.

    I can't thank TN enough for the suggestions, Zipper & Ms. Bunting especially. You're all amazing!

  • Megan says:

    Jane, I loved Arrow to the Sun when I was little! I didn't know anyone else who had read it-the Jesus allegory made me think my parents (pastor and Sunday School teacher) were test-driving it with me. They did that with books, lessons, children's sermons . . . You know despite spending my childhood as the subject of some kind of religious education experiment, I love and respect my parents.

  • Zipper says:

    Yay! My very first book match win. Happy to help, Shannon.

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