Sweet Moon Baby
An Adoption Tale

written by Karen Henry Clark
illustrated by Patrice Barton

collaged images from Sweet Moon Baby, illustrated by Patrice Barton

Karen Henry Clark's Sweet Moon Baby
Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 3-6

An adoption fairy tale about how you came to us

When it comes to adoption, author Karen Henry Clark decided a fairy tale was in order.

After all, you don't have to look far to find a picture book that explains adoption in simple terms meant for young minds to grasp. If your child comes from China, there are any number of books to choose from, such as

(All of which are reviewed on this site.)

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale goes in a different direction, veering into fiction almost immediately after introducing us to a pair of Chinese parents who can't afford to give their daughter the upbringing they feel she deserves.

From high in the warm sky, the moon's face glowed on the river, making a path as clear as the night's promise.

In time the mother said, "We must trust the moon. Only good things will happen to our daughter." So they placed her in a basket.

(Hey, if it was good enough for an adopted child named Moses....)

So begins a magical journey, under the watchful eye of a beneficent moon, in which the baby girl's basket is guided through various dangers by

  • a turtle
  • a peacock
  • a panda...

...and more. All this while her parents-to-be - guided themselves by the moon - journey over mountains and down rivers to find their new child.

Review - Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale

Author Clark reports that some literal-minded critics have taken her to task for fictionalizing this tale of adoption (and indeed she could have shared her own account, having adopted daughter Margaret in 1997).

Give me a break. As mentioned, parents desirous of a picture book telling the real story will have no trouble finding one. Sweet Moon Baby offers a different angle, one not meant to be taken literally, but one that truly makes the adopted child the star he/she deserves to be.

If you're willing to provide a fairy for your child's tooth, surely you can grant her the equivalent for her entire being.

To my mind, parents can tell the "real" story in their own words, likely better than a book. What this book does is put the focus where it belongs, on a helpless infant being tended to by loving people...and things.

Looked at that way, Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale may contain more truth than the non-fiction books beside it on store shelves, because the greatest concern of a small child is to know and believe they are loved and watched over.

More adoption books.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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