friday feast: a full moon is rising by marilyn singer and julia cairns

Happy first Poetry Friday of September!

Today,  I’m excited to share several poems and spreads from Marilyn Singer’s new poetry collection, A Full Moon is Rising (Lee & Low, 2011). Have you seen it yet?

Marilyn invites young readers to come along on a whirlwind tour of the world, providing the perfect opportunity to discover some interesting full moon celebrations, customs, beliefs, facts and natural phenomena. The 17 poems, written in a variety of poetic forms, takes us to places like Turkey, China, India, Colombia, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, and  Morocco. Did you know the world’s highest tides are in the Bay of Fundy, Canada? Have you ever heard of the Pushkar Camel Fair? You must read about the mudflats in Broome, Australia — when a full moon shines on them, it creates an image of a staircase leading to the moon through the sky!

Julia Cairns’s beautiful, evocative watercolor spreads capture the emotional heartbeat of  each poem, feelings ranging from wonder and fascination, to joyous celebration, to lighthearted fun and dreaminess. I love the blend of poetry and science, the nod to diversity, the reverence for the moon as the ultimate unifier. Singer’s poems remind you to look up: your gift, a chance to marvel at full moon magic like never before.

Three of my absolute favorite poems center around food (surprise!). Put on your moon-gazing face and make sure your bib is fastened tight as we travel to Israel, China, and Iowa!

Haifa, Israel

Come in, come in,
     daughter, son, neighbor.
Come into this sukkah,
with its canvas walls,
its leafy ceiling of palm and pine.
Come rejoice in this fair harvest,
     in the harvests long past,
     and the ones yet to come.
Here, the pomegranates are sweet,
     the grapes are sweeter,
and the vanilla white moonlight frosting us
through the fragrant roof
     is sweetest of all!

Hong Kong, China

Look up!
Rabbit, dragon, butterfly, carp:
lanterns parading by.
Look around!
All of us together,
sampling these sweet cakes —
red bean and lotus paste —
each with a surprise inside:
a salty egg, round and golden
as the glorious eighth moon.

A Farm in Iowa, USA

Every September Grandpa tells the tale
his grandfather told him,
     of reaping all this wheat
     by moonlight brighter than the headlights
     on all our combines combined.
And every year the hard-work story changes
     from old-time binders to older scythes,
     from three long nights to a longer six,
     from six strong workers to maybe ten.
But the bread, oh that bread, his grandma made?
That always stays the same!

* * *

Oh my word, I need some homemade bread and a couple of mooncakes now. And that “vanilla white moonlight frosting us” — *swoon*.

Yes, you need to click through to your favorite online bookseller and order A Full Moon is Rising right this second. Heads up: the next full moon is September 12th.  You’ll definitely want your copy in hand by then for a proper celebration!

The luminous Tricia Stohr-Hunt has this week’s Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Check out the full menu of poetry being served up around the blogosophere.

poems by Marilyn Singer
illustrated by Julia Cairns
published by Lee & Low Books, May 2011
Full Color Picture Book for ages 6+, 48 pp.
Includes an introduction explaining lunar phases and fascinating endnotes for each poem that will no doubt inspire further study.

Cool themes: Moon lore, diversity, poetry, science, celebrations, foreign cultures, myths and legends.

♥ For an interview with Marilyn and Julia, links to some of the glowing reviews this title has earned so far, more gorgeous spreads, and to listen to Marilyn read three poems, visit Lee & Low’s website. I love Marilyn’s reading voice ☺!


**If you promise to keep your moon face on all day, you may have some mooncake. Have a great holiday weekend!


***Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2011 Marilyn Singer, illustrations © Julia Cairns, published by Lee & Low Books, 2011. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.