Moon, Nicola 1952-
MOON, Nicola 1952-
PERSONAL: Born June 16, 1952, in Bristol, England; daughter of J. and M. (Walker) Watt; married Philip Moon (an electronic products manager), 1974; children: Kate, Ben. Education: Bristol University, B.Sc. (with honors), 1973.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Lucy Firth, David Higham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London WF1 9HA, England.
CAREER: Writer and educator. Research assistant in cancer research, London, England, 1973-74; secondary schoolteacher, Wiltshire, England, 1974-79.
At the Beginning of a Pig, illustrated by Andy Ellis, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1994.
Jodie's Colours, illustrated by Lizzie Sanders, Pavilion (London, England), 1994.
Lucy's Picture, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe, Orchard (London, England), 1994, Dial (New York, NY), 1995.
Something Special, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe, Orchard (London, England), 1995, Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta, GA), 1997.
Penguins in the Fridge, illustrated by Peter Day, Pavilion (London, England), 1995.
Mouse Finds a Seed, illustrated by Anthony Morris, Pavilion (London, England), 1995.
Max and the Apples, illustrated by Kay Widdowson, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1996.
Max and the Cat, illustrated by Kay Widdowson, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1996.
Max and the Drum, illustrated by Kay Widdowson, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 1996.
Alligator Tails and Crocodile Cakes, Kingfisher Books (London, England), 1996, Kingfisher Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Billy's Sunflower, Little Hippo (London, England), Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.
Happy Birthday, Amelia, Pavilion Books (London, England), 1999.
Hermit Crab's New Shell ("Oxford Literacy Web" series), Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.
Octopus's Legs ("Oxford Literacy Web" series), Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.
Shark's Tooth ("Oxford Literacy Web" series), Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.
JJ Rabbit and the Monster, illustrated by Ant Parker, Kingfisher Books (London, England), 1999, Kingfisher Books (New York, NY), 2000.
My Most Favourite Thing, illustrated by Carol Thompson, Orchard (London, England), 2000, published as My Most Favorite Thing, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Mouse Tells the Time, Pavilion Books (London, England), 2002.
Noisy Neighbors, Kingfisher Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Planets, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2003.
Tick-Tock, Drip-Drop!: A Bedtime Story, illustrated by Eleanor Taylor, Gullane (London, England), 2003, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A picture book, The Worst Thing about Being a Kangaroo.
SIDELIGHTS: Nicola Moon was born in 1952, in Bristol, England. Her early love of reading was encouraged by her father, who introduced her to favorite characters Eeyore and Tigger from A. A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" books, according to a biography on the David Higham Associates Web site. After earning a degree in microbiology, Moon worked as a laboratory assistant in London. A year later, she married, moved to Wiltshire, and became a secondary-school science teacher. When her children were born, Moon left her job to become a full-time mother. Inspired by her efforts at writing for her own children, she started working on picture books and other material, with an eye to publication. Her first book, At the Beginning of a Pig, appeared in 1994 and has been followed by other volumes for children.
In Lucy's Picture, Moon describes how her young character Lucy "builds" a picture for her blind grandfather. While at school, Lucy gathers twigs, leaves, feathers, and other items to assemble a collage for her grandfather. Cutting a piece of her own hair, she even fashions a golden retriever's coat to resemble her grandfather's seeing-eye dog. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that Moon tells an "affecting story" through her "straightforward prose," while Mary Harris Veeder, reviewing the work in Booklist, stated that children will "enjoy the story of picture making at school."
Katie's stuffed toy Rabbit is her favorite thing in the world, and she carries it with her everywhere she goes in My Most Favourite Thing, published in the United States as My Most Favorite Thing. Katie's grandfather also has a favorite thing—his dog, Billy. When Billy gets sick, he needs an operation and must stay overnight at the veterinarian's office for treatment. Katie recognizes that Grandpa will be lonely without his loyal pet, so she gives him Rabbit to keep him company until Billy is well enough to come home. It is a stressful time for her as she tries to make do without Rabbit, trying various substitutes without success. But the generously given stuffed animal does help Grandpa feel better while waiting for Billy. When Billy comes home, Katie welcomes Rabbit back, feeling very glad that she was able to help her grandfather through his tough time. "This is a warm, reassuring tale about the value of sharing," wrote Lynne Babbage in a Magpies review of My Most Favourite Thing. JoAnn Jonas, writing in School Library Journal, called My Most Favorite Thing a "simply shown model of kindness offered and accepted," while Marta Segal, reviewing the same work in Booklist, remarked that Moon "sweetly and gently illustrates the concepts of generosity and sharing" through her story of Katie's selfless actions. Moon "has crafted a beautiful story celebrating all the love a young girl has to give," commented a Kirkus Review critic.
Mouse Tells the Time follows a young mouse as he sets out to learn how to tell time. Finding the right way to know the hour becomes difficult as each animal he encounters in the forest has a different method for knowing what time it is. Squirrel looks at the length of shadows and which direction they are pointing. Hedgehog tells time by noticing whether it is light or dark outside. Grandma Mole uses an hourglass to tell her when an hour has elapsed. And the Rabbit twins tell time by the direction that dandelion fluff floats through the air—which results in two different interpretations of the time of day. Confused by all the unusual techniques, Mouse returns home where his mother gives him a simple definition of time and promises to teach him how to read a clock. Writing in Books, a reviewer noted that Moon handled the confusion about telling time in a way that is "straightforward and reassuring."
Moon once commented: "Books were very much a part of my own childhood, an interest which was reawakened in the early 1980s when I was able to share the enjoyment with my own two children. In addition to reading to them, I wrote stories for them—something I had never done before. Once the children were both at school, and health problems (rheumatoid arthritis) ruled out a return to teaching, I decided to try writing for publication—with the aim of success before my fortieth birthday! This I achieved (just!), signing my first contract, for At the Beginning of a Pig in 1992.
"Having always had an interest in education, I feel very strongly that learning to read is one of the most important and basic skills a child can master. If a child is familiar with and enjoys books from an early age, the first step toward literacy has been taken."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 15, 1995, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Lucy's Picture, p. 938; July, 2000, John Peters, review of Happy Birthday, Amelia, p. 2042; September 1, 2001, Marta Segal, review of My Most Favorite Thing, p. 117.
Books, summer, 1999, review of JJ and the Monster, p. 22; autumn, 2002, review of Mouse Tells the Time, p. 20.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1995; July 15, 2001, review of My Most Favorite Thing, p. 1031; March 15, 2003, review of Mouse Tells the Time, p. 474.
Magpies, July, 2001, Lynne Babbage, review of MyMost Favourite Thing, p. 27.
Publishers Weekly, January 2, 1995, review of Lucy'sPicture, p. 76; March 27, 2000, "Revving Up to Read," p. 83.
School Librarian, spring, 1998, Sarah Reed, review of Billy's Sunflower, p. 20.
School Library Journal, November, 2001, JoAnn Jonas, review of My Most Favorite Thing, p. 130.
David Higham Associates Web site,http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/ (January 26, 2004), profile of Nicola Moon.*