Two brothers, memorably named Fox and Dodge, are making plans their fifth ride to the moon of their spacecraft, the White Dolphin. Built using common household “odds and ends,” they keep the craft hidden behind the chimney at the roof in their house. Their intention for this journey is to construct a castle at the moon’s surface, and they prep for this mission at domestic with fashions made from timber blocks.
Told from the angle of the more youthful brother, Dodge, A Fort at the Moon is full of authentic—by no means patronizing—info that seize how youngsters understand the world. After the boys inform their mom they plan to build a castle on the moon, they examine that she “receives that appearance grown-ups get whilst they think you’re being cute.” Author Maggie Pouncey’s language is likewise remarkably childlike: The boys’ tools for shipbuilding, for instance, include “two diggers” and “ whackers.” Pouncey’s use of exclamation marks at some point of the story is mainly effective in communicating the boys’ wonder—“We load our materials into the ship, things Mama known as junk!”—and her occasional use of rich figurative language delights. Walking at the moon, Dodge reflects, is like “stirring the batter of the world’s largest cake.”
Illustrator Larry Day brings the men’ adventure to the web page via relaxed watercolor and gouache illustrations dominated via a vivid, sapphire blue. His depiction of the White Dolphin is entertaining, built as it's miles with old umbrellas, tires, watering cans, cardboard packing containers and the like. The boys, snug in snowsuits, sit down in antique automobile seats as they navigate the spacecraft. Expect lots of snickers while sharing this book aloud with younger readers.
Though the brothers enjoy frustration in building the citadel (moon dust gets on everything, and they run low on tape), the thrill of journey dominates the story. Children will pride at the lads’ lunar antics and might even be touched via the brotherly bonding that takes place when Dodge realizes that, if it weren’t for his brother, he could have given up.
A Fort on the Moon marries art and story for a combination that’s surely out of this world.