Review of A Fort on the Moon

A Fort on the Moon 
by Maggie Pouncey; illus. by Larry Day 
Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g 
11/20    978-0-8234-4657-5    $18.99 

Young narrator Dodge and his older brother Fox have a single goal — to build a fort on the moon. The brothers’ strong resolve playfully clashes with their father’s unsolicited input (“Our dad is an engineer, so he thinks he knows a lot about building”) and their mother’s grown-up skepticism. Once night falls, and their parents are asleep, the snowsuit-and-helmet-clad brothers head to the roof, where they find their homemade (and highly creative) ship and blast off. A bit of a bumpy landing leads to some exploration on the moon, “mysterious and dark, like a mountain turned inside out, a volcano floating in midair.” The mission takes a turn for the worse (and Dodge throws a tantrum, expertly redirected by a reassuring Fox), but soon they manage to create an impressive, if ramshackle, fort. They head back to Earth and a breakfast of “pancakes shaped like astronauts, stars, and the moon.” Day’s illustrations (“pencil, pen, and ink with watercolor and gouache”), starring a family with subtly varied skin tones, skillfully alternate spot art, panels, single pages, and double-page spreads. An appealingly textured warm blue serves as stand-in for the inky darkness of night and outer space — fitting the narrative’s upbeat spirit.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Patrick Gall
Patrick Gall works as a librarian for children in preschool through eighth grade at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.

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