Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Guardians of Childhood, William Joyce

Now a great way to connect with our inner kid and experience that wonderful happiness that sinks down deep in the heart and runs from the tip of our toes to the tops of our heads is to read great children's books.

You don't have to be a kid to read a great book especially one so wonderfully illustrated and a story told so well as that of The Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce.

Hailed by Newsweek as one of the top 100 people to watch in the new millennium, William Joyce's distinct and striking drawings and imaginative story telling depict a world full of whimsy, fun, and adventure. (Joyce)
                                                                                

 
Joyce has had his hand (say that three times fast) in many works including George Shrinks, and Rolie Polie Olie which has won three Emmy's for its animated series of the same name. Most recently though you may have heard of him as the co-Producer to the animated movie that was released around Christmastime of 2012 entitled Rise of the Guardians; which is based on The Guardians of Childhood series. Now no one ruin it for me if you have seen the movie, as I haven't but if his books are any indication of his talent, I'm sure the movie is outstanding.
 
I will be reviewing the first two picture books in The Guardians of Childhood series.
 
Book One: The Man in the Moon
Book Two: The Sandman
 
Recommended ages: 4 and up

 
 
I actually stumbled upon this first picture book purely on accident. The movie Rise of the Guardians hadn't even been released (well to my knowledge) yet. I was perusing the bookshelves in the kids section as my two oldest tried to figure out which book or series they wanted to start next, and there is sat on the shelf beckoning me to pick it up with it's wonderful copper embossed title hinting at an illustrated work that must be close to what a  Jules Verne tale would look like if drawn.
 
I flipped through the pages there in the store amazed and awed by the detail of the illustrations, but not until I took it home and read the story to my children that night did I truly appreciate the magnificence of the start of this series. It tells of how MiM (the man in the moon) came to be; from a baby aboard the Moon Clipper to a protector of the children of Earth.
 
Though the tale could get a bit scary for the younger readers; as Pitch the Nightmare King attacks the Moon Clipper, and Nightlight defeats him resulting in an explosion that kills MiM's parents; the overall feeling of the story is one of hope and protection. Children of any age will feel safe as they are tucked in at night knowing that the Man in the Moon is there to protect them just as Nightlight protected MiM so long ago.
 

 
Another copper foil embossed title pulled me over as I discovered that the second installment of Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood series had been released. So I snatched it up without even looking inside because I knew without a doubt that this one would be just as wonderful as the first story.

I was not let down. The illustrations are again magnificent. And tell the tale as much in their own rights as the words Joyce has placed along side them. This installment tells the story of how Sanderson (Sandy) Mansnoozie came to be known as The Sandman.

Joyce fantastically ties this tale back into the first book of MiM by the shooting star.

The only fault I have with the second book, is in the first Pitch is defeated (or we are led to believe) by Nightlight, and in the second Pitch attacks Sandy's shooting star ship. If this was the case, why didn't MiM see the shooting star sooner, or had Pitch attacked the star ship prior to attacking Sandie's ship? A minor thing that children will not happen to pick up on, and I probably wouldn't have either if I wasn't trying to become a writer as well as having just read both stories back to back. But it is their either way, make your own judgments there on. Back to my reviewing.

The tale builds up and you discover that Sandy is entrusted to watch over the children when MiM is unable to. Those times when the moon is dark such as cloudy days, or during the New Moon, though this is not outright stated. You find fantastic creatures on The Sandman's island, and I loved the idea that seashells learn of our "secret joys and sorrows" as we hold them to our ears and then deliver those to the Sandman.

A truly wonderful addition to the first story of The Man in the Moon with attention to every detail from the cover to the inside flaps, and storyline continuation.

These picture books will no doubt bring out the happiness you felt as a child when you first discovered that special gift left by Santa, the first wish you made upon a star, or the time the tooth fairy left you change beneath your pillow.

The Man in the Moon available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and other locations where books are sold.

The Sandman available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and other locations where
books are sold.

If you are up for a bit of website hopping you will not be disappointed at William Joyce's the Guardians of Childhood website so please take a look there and stop by the extras.

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