Review: Moon River by Tim Hopgood. [Based on the song by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini].
Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style, someday.
Good song lyrics draw in the listener. They raise questions and images in our mind. Where is this river? Who is this dreamer and will he or she ever cross the river? Why can’t they do so now?
Moon River was written for the score of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and won an Oscar for best original song in 1961, although possibly the best-known version is sung by Andy Williams. This will be familiar to anyone, like me, whose grandparents came of age and were in their 20s during an era jazz music and rock and roll.
Tim Hopgood’s picture book interprets the song as a dreamy lullaby. It is a gentle tune about big dreams and journeys and taking in the magic of life along the way. The images of the moon on the river and the rainbow’s end lend themselves beautifully to Hopgood’s interpretation. This is the perfect book to read before bedtime.
It follows a girl whose toys come to life and take her down the river. Teddy and Horse navigate their course while pointing out the beautiful scenery. I love particularly how this focuses on details – the light on the water and the other boats ahead. It is important to appreciate the small moments of beauty in the world.
An accompanying CD includes both the Andy Williams version of the song and a guided read-along track. This would be a lovely activity to share with a young reader and the perfect way to wind down for bed. It might also give huge amounts of pleasure to elderly people with dementia who were young when the song was released.
Tim Hopgood’s illustrations are soft and colourful, with lots of attention given to the light and water and the drifting clouds.
A dreamy story, and a beautiful interpretation of the original lyrics.
Thanks to Oxford University Press for my gifted copy of Moon River. Opinions my own.