4.5/5

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank The Moon is an outstanding children’s book with gorgeous themes, a gorgeous cover (OBVIOUSLY), and gorgeous language.

I was especially impressed with the earlier halves of the book. The characters were interesting and fun, which is something I expect from children’s books, but they were also somewhat complex with interesting relationships. I could see the plot being set up throughout, but it was truly surprising to me the depths at which the themes were connected.

The worldbuilding was SO fun. Truly Kelly Barnhill proved all the theories that soft magic is better. I loved that the lore of the world was scattered throughout like little juicy nuggets of knowledge. Really, such a vivid and…comforting? conceptualization of magic.

I even appreciated the formatting, which added to the delightful scattering of lore. She expertly used the story scenes to add suspense and nuances to the narrative, as well as to build some interesting themes about the way people create stories for themselves and their societies.

Still…this book was clearly a children’s book. It wasn’t my ideal read as an adult, though it certainly was refreshing and light. The language got kind of silly sometimes (easy to overlook), the pacing was slow at the beginning and very fast at the end (harder to overlook), and it closed very simply with a fairytale ending (debatable). I think the hardest thing for me was that ending…the book was filled with a lot of nuance and unexpected complexity of arcs, but they converged in a very straightforward, predictable, and perhaps even rushed way.

Would a kid mind? Probably not, in fact, it would probably be the easiest for them to grasp. But I believe in children’s books as a powerful force for everyone, which is why it was so fun to be a child again and pick up this, (need I say it again?) gorgeous book.

What do you think about children’s books? How much should they be catering to older audiences? How often do you get to pick up a younger read, and which ones are your favorites? I’d love to read and review any of your suggestions 🙂