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Sun and Moon
by Lindsey Yankey
AGES: 4-8
SIZE: 11.25 x 9
PRICES: 18.95 Cdn/16.95 US
HARDCOVER: 9781927018606

Sun and Moon is an October 2015 Midwest Connections Pick, from the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association!


Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas:
This beautifully illustrated children’s book begins with the moon wanting to trade places with the sun for just one day. But as lush images of poppies blossoming in the sun are juxtaposed with baobab trees blossoming in the moonlight, and children playing in the sun in the daytime then dreaming in the nighttime, Moon is reminded of all the wonderful things he gets to experience each night. Eventually, under amazingly bright fireworks, Moon realizes he would not want to give up any of his nocturnal experiences for even one day. A sweet story of appreciating what one has is brought to life through Yankey’s incredible artwork. Using a mix of oil paint and watercolor, linoleum block print and collage, , she fills each page with details children will keep discovering with each read.

Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kansas:

Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey is a beautiful reminder to children and adults alike that, if we look at them closely, our own lives hold far more delight and surprise than we ever imagined. When the moon envies the sun’s view and begs to trade places, the sun asks the moon to look spend one more night looking closely at the earth before they seal the agreement. When moon obeys, the world magically reveals itself, and moon realizes it is just what and where it should be. Yankey’s exquisite and detailed illustrations reveal new things with each viewing. 



Moon is bored of the night and covets Sun’s time spent in the day, which is surely full of bright flowers growing, children playing, and animals lounging. So Sun strikes a deal: if they swap, they swap for good, but first Moon must spend one whole night paying close attention to what happens in nighttime. When Moon looks at the after-dark world with fresh eyes, he see nothing but loveliness—the bright lights of a carnival, a family of brick-red foxes emerging from their den, a spindle-legged lamplighter illuminating the street—and he decides he could never give it up. It’s an endearing and gratifying story of acceptance and patience, but it’s Yankey’s simply stunning illustrations that make this such a joy to pore over. In warm, saturated hues and tapestry-like textures, she paints gorgeous, captivating spreads of bold red poppies towering in the foreground of a field of wildflowers; lanky tigers stretched out in pools of sunshine; and a bunk bed of sleeping children, rendered in delicate, whisper-thin lines and muted tones, dreaming of boisterous colors and madcap adventures. Each wide-format, two-page spread is a beautiful composition on its own, but together with the gentle lines of the story, they invite close, slow examination, just as the pale-green moon must look carefully to notice the splendid magic of the night. Truly enchanting.

— Sarah Hunter


School Library Journal:

Moon wants to spend one day—just one day—being the sun. Moon sees his world as boring and lonely, for it is dark and everyone is asleep during his nightly watch. In comparison, Sun’s life seems so much better, with beautiful flowers blooming, children playing, even tigers sunbathing. So, Moon asks Sun to trade places. Sun agrees, but only on two conditions. First, the trade is a permanent one and second, Moon “must spend an entire night in the sky looking very closely at the earth —closer than [he] ever has” before deciding. Moon is thrilled and agrees immediately. Carefully watching through the night, he notices things he never saw before. Down on earth below, there is a lively nighttime carnival, foxes waking to the hunt, children in their beds dreaming, blossoms on the baobab tree, fireworks, and so much more. It is all so fascinating that Moon decides he wants to do nothing more than to spend his time “enjoying the exciting and wonderful things that [come] to life in his moonlight.” The artwork, which combines collage, cut-outs, porcelain block, and inks, is expertly used to create a beautiful and stunning modern-day folktale. The detailed, stylized artwork is perfectly in tune with the text. VERDICT A terrific book pulled together with wonderful artwork. A treat for the eyes and ears.

–Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA


Kirkus Reviews:

Luminous, intricate illustrations light up this tale of a lonely Moon, who yearns to trade places with the wise Sun. Imagining the wonder of watching flowers bloom and children play, Moon eagerly proposes the switch—but Sun makes two preconditions: first, the exchange must be permanent, and second, Moon should first spend an entire night looking down at Earth more closely than ever before. Yankey lays flat, cut-paper figures of pale children, bright carpets of delicate flowers, sinuously elongated wild creatures, and flowing lines of landscape over backgrounds of deep, starry darkness. With this technique, she shows the astonished Moon city lights shining out, sleeping children flying through magical dreams, baobab flowers floating like ghosts, raccoons scampering on mysterious errands in the silvery forest, and fireflies gleaming like low stars. All of these are prof ound revelations, and by the time Sun returns, the enthralled Moon has changed his mind completely about ever losing them. The narrative describes Moon's discoveries in sonorous but unaffected language. A lovely tale to share, day or night. (Picture book. 5-8) - 5 stars review! 


Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey is a picture book that succeeds on a number of levels: It's a good story. The illustrations are memorable. Since much of the story takes place at night and the tone of the story is calm and thoughtful, Sun and Moon is an excellent bedtime story. In addition, there are several subtle messages intertwined in the story. I recommend Sun and Moon for children 3 to 6 years old.


The publisher recommends the book for ages 4 to 8, and I can certainly see it sparking interesting discussions at home and in the classroom.



Moon wants to trade places with Sun for just one day. Too often, he finds night to be a boring and lonely time. He is envious when he thinks of Sun enjoying colorful flowers, children playing and more during the day. When Moon talks to Sun, Sun is only willing to trade on two conditions:


1. The trade will last not for a day but forever.


2. Before Moon makes the decision to trade, Sun tells him, " must spend an entire night in the sky looking very closely at the earth - closer than you ever have before."


What happens when Moon does just that and realizes all the beauty and life surrounding him at night makes for a very satisfying story. Young children will gain a new appreciation for night when you share Sun and Moon with them and may also, particularly with gentle prompting, pick up on the message of learning to appreciate what you have.


The Illustrations and Author & Illustrator Lindsey Yankey


Lindsey Yankey makes use of a variety of art media to create her stylized and imaginative illustrations. Her strong, yet muted, color choices, fanciful details and dark blue background for the night scenes give the illustrations a dreamlike quality that complements the tale. See more of her Sun and Moon artwork on Lindsey Yankey’s website.


Author and illustrator Lindsey Yankey grew up in rural Kansas in a family in which art and creativity were encouraged. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Visual Communications, Illustration from The University of Kansas (KU) in 2009. Sun and Moon is the second children's picture book that Yankey has both written and illustrated. Bluebird, published in 2014, was her first. 


Yankey's art has been exhibited in both Italy and the United States. On her website Lindsey Yankey writes, “I love the mouthwatering juiciness of oil paint, the independence [of] watercolor, the history of found paper, the simplicity of pencil and pen, and all the rabbit holes that are revealed by carving linoleum block to create pattern and repetition.”


My Recommendation

Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey is one of those books that young children will want to hear and look at again and again and that parents will enjoy reading and sharing with them. For children who are a little apprehensive about the dark, Yankey provides some good reasons, in both words and pictures, to appreciate the dark night and its beauty. Yankey also provides a subtle message about the importance of really looking at and appreciating what you have rather than coveting what someone else has. Share Sun and Moon with your children as both a bedtime and an anytime story. (Simply Read Books, 2015. ISBN: 9781927018606)

~ Elizabeth Kennedy, Children's Book Expert


Publisher's Weekly:

In a fablelike story about greener grasses and discovering wonder in one's own circumstances, the moon wishes to take the place of the sun for a day: "Moon imagined Sun saw beautiful sights like flowers blooming, children playing, and tigers sunbathing." While Sun agrees to switch places, there are two conditions—that Moon agrees to take on Sun's role forever and that he must first closely observe what unfolds on the Earth during the night. Yankey's (Bluebird) poetic descriptions provide ample opportunity for her inky, enigmatic artwork to flourish. After dark, Moon observes gold-inlaid elephants forming a towering canopy for a nighttime carnival, lean foxes awakening in a den of wildflowers, and exploding fireworks that resemble stained glass. He also witnesses the whimsical dreams of children, boys and girls borne aloft in sailboats, a goose, and hot-air balloons. Ornamental detailing, collage elements, and delicately penciled figures that call to mind 19th-century children's book illustrations (a gangly lamplighter could be kin to the Mad Hatter) combine to create a lyrical reverie. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)


Sun Herald:

Being happy with who you are and what you have instead of yearning for what lies beyond reach is a good message for children to learn, and this book teaches this brilliantly through the story of Moon who, after a lifetime in darkness, wished to spend one day as the Sun. Sun agrees but only after Moon decides to look more closely at the earth. He does so and is enchanted by what he had missed. Eventually Moon murmurs, ‘‘I don’t want to trade my night for anything – not even for a day.’


Shelf Awareness (featured in the Shelf Awareness Newsletter):

Lindsey Yankey's (Bluebird) stunning illustrations call to mind batik patterns and colors in this folktale-like story of Moon, who wishes to spend "just one day" as the sun.

A nighttime palette of violets and olive greens sets the scene. As Moon imagines the Sun's sights, the pages explode with poppies and black-eyed Susans that match the golden globe in the sky. A carnival-like atmosphere pervades as a parade of children balance on intricately patterned balls, and hold pinwheels and exotic banners. In another two-page spread, of "tigers sunbathing," one wraps its tail like an outline around the sun while another encircles a patch of flowers. At the book's midpoint, Sun and Moon appear together, separated by a mound of plants and butterflies. Sun spells out the conditions for the exchange: "First, if we trade, it will last forever, not just one day. Second, you must spend an entire night... looking very closely at the earth." As the moon fulfills the requirements, he sees the evening equivalent of his fantasies of daytime: a nighttime carnival, and foxes leaving the circle of their den. Moon also sees "children dreaming": riding astride a goose, on a sailboat, in a helium balloon. In a nod to The Little Prince, Moon views the blossoms of a baobab tree and watches a lamplighter at work. A mother owl who'd left her nest at the start of the book returns at the close with a meal for her young.

Yankey's gentle message suggests that when we pay attention, our daily routines take on new meaning.


The Book Wars blog:

 The picturebook is a visual feast for connoisseurs but for those looking for another reason to splurge on this book, the gentle moral in the story should suffice. The moon takes a second look at all he has and finds value where previously he had seen none. I recommend this both for libraries to lend to their patrons and for parents to share with their children.