When the Moon is a Smile

Review of ‘When the Moon is a Smile’, written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan with illustrations by Amy Calautti.

Published by Daisy Lane Publishing 2019

I am always hooked by a book that refers to the moon…such a magical place to contemplate. In fact my young grandson and I have just read ‘Moon, a Peek through Picture book’, which illustrates the phases of the moon and the impact on the natural world.

So when I read the title of this book and saw the cerulean blue sky and cursive white script on the cover and the wonderful end papers, I had to open it.

The reference to the moon is not apparent till near the end of the book. The other pages centre on the relationship between a little girl and her dad and we learn on page one, that they are ‘together again.’ So this is really a story about a separated family and how a child copes with that separation.

The story never becomes maudlin but is full of joy and smiles as the child and her father delight in driving to ballet class, dancing together, playing on the monkey bars, eating ice-cream and splashing in the surf. The smiles get wider and wider.

The language is quite lyrical, with an internal rhyme. At the beach, the child says, ‘the salt spray tickles my nose and the waves tease my toes and dress my feet in lace socks as we race and chase along the shore.’

 Of course the smiles become down turned as the father gets ready to leave. But he devises a way for her to remember when he will return. Not next month or in weeks time, that’s too had for a little one to comprehend. They sit in the tree house and he tells her, ‘Watch the moon. It will show you with its changing face.’

He tells her that,’ the next time the moon is a smile in the sky that’s when we will be together again.’ She is reassured and keeps watch from her bedroom window. It is a comforting ending for any child who has been apart from a parent for whatever reason.

The illustrations are colourful and joyous, the figures outlined boldly. There are wonderful soft watercolour spreads towards the end that reinforce the change in mood and emotion.

But the story finishes with the cerulean blue sky, the vivid white stars and of course the smiling moon.

 This book is about to embark on a blog tour with Books on Tour PR and Marketing from June 3-June 7. Books On Tour PR & Marketing @