Review: Moon And Me – The Little Seed by Andrew Davenport. Illustrated by Mariko Umeda.
It’s time to go to sleep. Lie down, Pepi Nana. Close your eyes, don’t you peep!
Andrew Davenport, creator of In The Night Garden and co-creator of Teletubbies is back with a new programme. Moon And Me follows Pepi Nana, who lives in the toy house, on a very special adventure with her new friend the Moon Baby. It brings the toy room stories of Enid Blyton into the modern day with the same balance of music, tea parties, friendships, adventures, and games.
This volume contains a mixture of stories and song words. As with Davenport’s other creations, the adventure is very much rooted in the familiar. The character is woken up by a narrator and sent to bed with a special Goodnight, Everybody routine. This mirrors the day of a small child. The adventures happen while an adult narrator keeps everything scheduled and safe and familiar.
Characters include Pepi Nana the doll, a stuffed onion, a pretend Lily plant and the Moon Baby. You can bet they will soon become household names to anyone with small children.
Davenport fascinates me as a creator of stories and brands for children. He seems to have a deep understanding of what will click with the under-threes at any given moment. I also think his brands are a lesson in aspiring writers for children. I am of the right age to recall the Teletubbies craze of the 90s – at seven or so I was outside the target age but young enough to participate and be an observer. Everybody had a favourite character. The world drew children and held them fascinated, even when the stories were so basic. Several memorable details became part of our everyday language (the Noo-Noo, anybody? Tubby Custard? We weren’t just watching it on Television. We were literally consuming the stuff from the supermarket).
Introducing the world of Moon & Me through a book seems like a lovely idea. Many bookworms turn their noses up at television tie-ins, but I challenge you to recall the books from your own childhood. There will be at least one TV book or annual which you read until the spine broke and the pages were tissue-paper thin just because you loved the character. And that kind of immersion in a story is priceless.
Thanks to Scholastic UK for my copy of Moon & Me. Opinions my own.