This lovely picture book uses a natural occurrence, the phases of the moon, to illustrate the goodness of God. There are times when we can’t see the whole moon as it orbits the earth, but the moon is always round, regardless of whether we can see it in its entirety or not.
There are times in our lives when things happen to us that make us question or doubt God’s goodness, but although we may not see God’s goodness during hard times this doesn’t mean that God is not good in those times. God is always good, just like the moon is always round, even when we can’t see all of it.
Ben was about three years old when his Dad held him up to the window one evening and Ben pointed out the moon which was a crescent shape that night. His Dad explained that while the moon can appear in different shapes, it is always round.
From that little episode, his Dad developed a simple catechism for Ben which went like this:
Q. Ben, what shape is the moon tonight?
A. The moon is a crescent moon, or a half-moon, or a gibbous moon, or a full moon.
Q. What shape is the moon always?
A. The moon is always round.
Q. What does that mean?
A. God is always good.
One day Ben’s Dad told him that he was going to get a little sister. That night the moon looked like a banana, but his Dad reminded him that, ‘The moon is always round.’ Later on it looked like a slice of apple, then a shrivelled orange, and always his Dad would say, ‘The moon is always round.’ Even when Ben was told that his little sister wasn’t coming to live with them after all their waiting and Ben wanted to know why, his Dad said, ‘I don’t know, but the moon is always round.’
Ben’s little sister was stillborn at 39 weeks and his Dad’s simple liturgy opened up a way to talk to him about God’s goodness.
The author also points to the events of Good Friday as a concrete example for teaching children about God’s goodness in difficult times:
‘On Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross, he experienced the most difficult of times. That day, the sun was blanked out and the whole world went dark – the darkest it has ever been. No stars twinkled. There was not even a sliver of the moon in the sky to give Jesus some light. And yet in the darkness, God showed the whole world that he was still good. Because in that moment, Jesus died for our sins, so that we could be forgiven. It’s why the day is called “Good Friday,” because even though Jesus died in the darkness, God was still good – just like the moon was still round, even though no one could see it.’
When I saw that this book had been released this year by New Growth Press, I approached the company and requested a review copy, which they kindly sent me.
I think there’s a real need of good books for children that address the grief and sense of loss that occurs when a baby is miscarried or stillborn. In my own experience, each child can be quite different in their reaction to loss. Some ask lots of questions while others don’t or aren’t able to articulate them.
I would have appreciated a resource like this to read to my children, the older ones and the younger ones. When you are dealing with your own pain it can be hard to initiate a conversation but I think that reading a book like this aloud would have helped me.
I appreciate the author’s use of a natural event with its certainty and regularity to reflect a spiritual reality, for addressing a difficult topic with clarity and tenderness, and for sharing his own story of loss in order to help others who are grieving.