The Moon is a Ball by Ed Franck and Thé Tjong-Khing

The Moon is a Ball by Ed Franck and Thé Tjong-Khing – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Charming, gentle, friendship, short stories.
Children’s book title: The Moon is a Ball.
Children’s author: Ed Franck.
Children’s illustrator: Thé Tjong-Khing.
Genre: Short stories.
Published by: Gecko Press.
ISBN: 9781776574933.
Recommended for children aged: 5+ year-olds.
First published: Hardback April 2023.
This children’s book is ideal for: Emerging readers.

The Moon is a Ball by Ed Franck and Thé Tjong-Khing

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Our review:

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Panda and Squirrel are the very best of friends. The Moon is a Ball tells the stories of nine of their charming adventures, including:

The moon – Panda and Squirrel try to knock the moon out of the sky to play with it and end up creating their own game in the process.

A long journey – Panda and Squirrel set out on a long journey. On the way, they meet Snail who asks to join them. Snail is very slow but asks a lot of interesting questions. The friends don’t travel very far but they have some very interesting conversations.

Fight – Panda and Squirrel have had an argument over who won at acorns. Panda has shut herself up in her den and refuses to come out. But Squirrel is patient and slowly coaxes Panda back out again.

They sit side by side in front of the cave. In silence, they listen to the singing of the birds and the rustle of the bamboo in the wind.

Squirrel puts her paw in Panda’s big paw.

Together they watch the red ball of the sun sinking over the mountain.

Dollop – Panda and Squirrel find a newly hatched duckling and nurture their new friend until he is ready to rejoin his family.

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Who are you? Poor Panda has an accident. She has fallen out of a tree and cannot remember anything – not even that she loves to eat bamboo! Luckily her best friend Squirrel helps her to remember who she really is.

Homesick – Panda wants to know where the sun goes to sleep, so she sets out on a long journey. Only without Squirrel, it’s a very lonely journey and Panda soon finds herself missing both home and her best friend.

What a lovely, fine day, Panda thinks. She does a little dance that makes her stomach wobble-boink-boink.

The Moon is a Ball is a charming collection of stories, reminiscent of A. A. Milne. Panda is a modern-day Winnie the Pooh, with Squirrel often taking the role of the more sensible Christopher Robin.

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The stories have simple plots that will appeal to young readers, but with deeper, more thoughtful messages that will also entice older children. The beautiful illustrations enhance the gentle theme of the book, and the short stories make it ideal for reading out loud.

There is an element of Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse in these whimsical tales. The focus on friendship, loyalty and play is universal, with the stories originally translated from Dutch.

The Moon is a Ball is a sweet collection of tales that will appeal to fans of Julia Donaldson and A.A. Milne.

Many thanks to Gecko Press for the review copy.

If you like The Moon is a Ball by Ed Franck and Thé Tjong-Khing you might also like: our reviews of Forwards Always by Matthew Hodson, An Anthology of Aesop’s Animal Fables by Helen Ward, When Creature Met Creature by John Agard, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, Can You Whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark and Anna Höglund and When It Rains by Rassi Narika.

Browse our list of books for year 1.

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon