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Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite
“James Saves the Moon”, written by Wendy Nystrom, is a delightful children’s picture book that combines a child’s imagination with Icelandic mythology. The illustrations by Jim Weidman, in a blue tone with colorful characters, lend a mythological feel to the story of a young boy (James), who sees the moon over one of the high mountains and decides that if he climbs to the top of the mountain he can reach out and touch the moon. Slipping quietly out of his bedroom window, he sets out on his journey. On his way up the mountain he stumbles over some rocks and disturbs one of Iceland’s mythological figures (Syvok), who joins him on his journey. They suddenly realize that unless they move faster, the moon will leave before they make it to the top of the mountain. In order that they can move faster, Syvok summons a dragon (Matthias), who allows them to ride on his back. They discover that the moon is stuck on the mountain and they will have to help get it unstuck. The three work as a team to set the moon free and while doing so, James truly does touch the moon.
The color of the illustrations by Jim Weidman and the very well-written story by Wendy Nystrom make “James Saves the Moon” a rare treasure for a children’s picture book. Its simplicity combined with the kind of story that stirs the imagination of a child make it something that will stick in the mind of the reader for a lifetime. This book gives a little bit of a taste of the colorful and flavorful history of Iceland and its traditions. It is highly recommended for its ability to help stir a child’s imagination. A wonderfully simple and delightful tale.