friday feast: over the moon!

Cover illustration by Jules Feiffer

Most everyone reading this has in some way been affected by breast cancer. Either you know someone currently battling the disease, have relatives or friends who are survivors, are a survivor yourself, or have sadly lost someone.

I know at least nine survivors and one person who lost her battle, and of course, we all recently learned that Judy Blume was recently diagnosed.

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is a beautiful collection of lullabies written by eminent Broadway composers and lyricists and performed by Broadway singers to benefit breast cancer research. It’s available as a 26-track two CD set, an eBook, and a hardcover picture book with a 17-song CD illustrated by Broadway set designers and some of our most beloved children’s book artists, including Wendell Minor, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Melissa Sweet, Paul O. Zelinsky, Barry Moser and Richard Egielski.

“Onesie” illustration copyright © 2012 Paul O. Zelinsky

The project was conceived and created by Kate Dawson and Jodi Glucksman, two veterans from the New York theatrical community whose own lives were touched by breast cancer: Kate lost a cousin who was just 45 years old with two small children, and Jodi lost her beloved grandmother.

Today I’m happy to share my favorite song from the collection, which kind of grabbed hold of me while I was listening to the CD on a long car trip. Lullabies, which celebrate the singular bond between mother and child, are truly offerings of love that calm, soothe, comfort and reassure.

Composer/lyricist Michael John LaChiusa has written for both musical theatre and opera, is a Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee and currently teaches theatre writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

“How Much Love” illustration copyright © 2012 Richard Egielski


Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Vocal by Audra McDonald

How much love can a heart hold?
A drop? A cup?
How much love can a heart hold
Before it fills and overflows?
Who knows how much it takes
Before it swells and breaks
With lakes and rivers, seas and oceans,
Cosmic teaspoons of emotions —
How much love can a heart bear?
A dash? A touch?
Too little? Too much?
Some may not think it very smart
That I never learned the measure
Of my own heart.
I don’t know how shallow
Or how deep it may be.
How much love can a heart hold?
I’ll learn.
I’ll test.
I’ll see.

Copyright © 2012 Michael John LaChiusa (Fiddleback Music Publishing Co., Inc. (BMI)/Warner/Chappell North America Ltd.). All rights reserved.

* * *

“Over the Moon” illustration copyright © 2012 Melissa Sweet

The music in Over the Moon is for all ages. It’s not strictly a “children’s album,” and is perfect for any time you want to relax, unwind, reflect, and bask in transcendent sounds. The roster of  composers, lyricists, singers, musicians, producers and illustrators who donated their time and talents to this project is mind boggling. Many participated in honor of someone or in memory of someone who has/had cancer, so the songs carry extra emotional weight.

Since next month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  I can’t think of a better way to show your support than by purchasing these lullabies in whichever format you prefer. All Over the Moon proceeds will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition. The picture book and CD set make perfect baby shower, birthday, or “just because” friendship gifts in the name of hope, healing and remembrance. Why not give everyone on your holiday gift list a copy?

Enjoy this teaser which features four-time Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award winner Audra Mcdonald singing parts of “How Much Love” in the background:

* * *

OVER THE MOON: The Broadway Lullaby Project
Conceived and Created by Kate Dawson and Jodi Glucksman
Foreword by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Published by Easton Studio Press, May 2012
Picture Book for all ages, 48 pp.
*Includes fascinating Contributor Notes!
Recommended for: Cute babies, cool kids, short grownups, Broadway fans, picture book lovers, music lovers, friends, family, everyone. ♥

To whet your appetite, a few of the Broadway contributors:

Composers and Lyricists

Sammy Cahn
Marva Hicks
Tony Kushner
Stephen Sondheim
Lucy Simon (older sister of Carly)
Rupert Holmes


Dana Ivey
Vanessa Williams
Jed Cohen
Michael Cerveris
Laura Osnes
Caesar Samayoa


Larry Campbell
Gil Goldstein
Fred Hersch
Julian Lage
Jody Redhage
Tony Scherr

♥ Be sure to visit the Over the Moon Broadway Lullaby Project website for the full list of contributors and their bios, song information, more sample videos, and great behind-the-scenes photos.

♥ I’ll leave you with another teaser featuring the incredibly handsome and talented Raul Esparza recording “This Little World.” He can sing me to sleep anytime. Be still my heart!

* * *

Librarian, Children’s Writer and Haiku/ Haiga Enthusiast Diane Mayr is hosting today’s Roundup at Random Noodling (one of the best blog names ever!). Whip out your chopsticks and feast on the poetry goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week.


*Spreads from Over the Moon reproduced by permission, copyright © 2012 Richard Egielski, Melissa Sweet, Paul O. Zelinsky for The Broadway Lullaby Project/Public Interest Projects, Inc., published by Easton Studio Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

41 thoughts on “friday feast: over the moon!

  1. What a lovely project, Jama, and a beautiful book as well. My in-laws have been hit hard by cancer in the recent few years and it is a terrible, terrible thing to see them suffer through the treatments. I’ve also participated in Relay for Life this year, it was really heartening to see so many others, young and old, standing firm in the fight against cancer.


    1. Sorry to hear about your in-laws’ difficult fight against the disease. It’s something that affects the entire family and it’s definitely hard to watch those you love suffer in any way. Good for you participating in Relay for Life! Sending healing thoughts and prayers to your family. ♥


  2. This is lovely, Jama. Our school has numerous babies due this fall, & it will be a wonderful gift for them. I loved hearing the songs, too. What a marvelous project, that I hadn’t heard about. Thank you.


  3. Thank you, Jama, so much for this post. I am my way to purchase both the CD set and book. They are so beautiful. To think all these talented artists have contributed on this project is so heartwarming. I tweeted about this post on Twitter, too. Happy Friday!


    1. Thanks, Penny. It’s really inspiring to hear about projects like these, a labor of love with so many immensely talented people working together for a good cause.


  4. You made me think about all my friends with breast cancer. And there are five just off the top of my head. Thanks for sharing this project it seems like a wonderful one. I will share it with people. 🙂


    1. That’s how it is with most of us — able to name survivors or lost ones quite readily. Thanks for stopping by to read and thanks for sharing with others.


  5. Thank you for sharing this, Jama. It’s a wonderful project. The words to “How Much Love” are lovely, and Audra MacDonald’s rendition sounds magical.


    1. “How Much Love” resonated the most with me when I first listened to the CD that came with the book. I also enjoyed “The Man Who Invented Ice Cream,” sung by Jodi G’s three children. 🙂


  6. Hi, Jama. This book looks amazing and I MUST hear anything composed by Stephen Sondheim. My breast cancer story — my very young neighbor was nursing her third son and thought her lump was an infected milk duct. She died in her early thirties. Many years later, I still find it hard to believe she’s gone.


    1. What a tragic story. Early thirties is too, too unfair, especially with a baby. So sorry to hear that, Laura.

      I hear you about Sondheim — one of my favorites!


  7. If I’m not one of your nine, make me #10.

    This post and project brought tears to my eyes — a young teacher from another building in our district, with two small children, just lost her battle with breast cancer this week.

    I feel lucky to be a survivor–I treasure every day–but like Judy Blume, I wondered WHY ME? when I was diagnosed (I couldn’t make ALL of the healthy claims she did, but lots of them) and I still ask WHY ME? as a survivor when young mothers are taken from their families.

    It’s a complicated “Club.”

    On a brighter note, three teachers in our building are pregnant right now, and I will make sure that all three get this book as a baby shower present!!!


    1. Oh no, so so sorry to hear about your teacher friend, and just this week! How devastating for her family. My heart goes out to those children especially.

      Yes, I did count you as one of my nine and I continue to be inspired by your wisdom and perspective about life. I can’t begin to imagine how the experience changed you as a person, or continues to influence all your daily thoughts and decisions, but I see a brand of courage, strength and determination in you as I do my other survivor friends which is very humbling and puts my own life in perspective any time I complain about trivial things. It’s easy to forget sometimes “what’s truly important” in this life and in this world.

      Thanks for sharing your “WHY ME” conundrum, which made me think of soldiers returning from war — grateful to be alive yet that cloak of guilt at having survived when their comrades did not. How to live with that?

      Wonderful that you’ll be giving Over the Moon to three teachers. Coming from you, it’ll be an especially meaningful gift. ♥


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