Mega-Predators of the Past
Under the glow of the shimmering Moon, creatures great and small are wide awake hunting, exploring, fending off predators, and building families. As the Moon changes phases, these animals alter their behavior to match its waxing and waning—while we look on in wonder. With luminous illustrations and lyrical text that’s part lullaby, part scientific resource, Thank You, Moon is a treasure for all ages to enjoy.
Honors and Awards
Colby Sharp’s Favorite Books of 2023
Cybil Awards Nominee
Mr. Schu's Favorite Books of 2023
Natural History Recommended Gifts for Budding Scientists
“A tribute to our only natural satellite, with atmospheric moonlit illustrations of nocturnal creatures … Lyrical and informative.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“An emotive main text is accompanied by a secondary text where scientific explanations are detailed. The illustrations of moonlit land and seascapes are perfectly matched to both texts, including scientifically accurate representations of light interacting with the environment and changes in the moon across different lunar phases.”
The Horn Book
Behind the Book
“In February 2020, Knopf editor Katherine Harrison tagged me on Twitter, alerting me to a conversation about how animals respond to the Moon’s cycle, and asked “Is this something you’d potentially be interested in writing? I just can’t get enough of the moon these days, and I feel like you could bring something special to it.” She also included a beautiful, eerie, mysterious image of the Moon partially obscured by clouds. It was an irresistible invitation.
“A few days later, I began doing some basic research to see how much information I could find. After a couple of weeks of digging, I was confident that there were enough solid examples to fill a book. Now I needed a strong hook—a unique lens that sparks the reader’s curiosity and encourages them to think about a familiar topic in a new way.
“Often, a book’s hook is obvious from the title. Examples include:
  • Feathers: Not Just for Flying
  • An Egg Is Quiet
  • If Sharks Disappeared
  • Pink Is for Blobfish
  • Weeds Find a Way
So on Saturday, I told my husband we were going to brainstorm titles while we cleaned the house. The ideas could be good or bad, silly or serious, anything at all. Any unique way of thinking about “our closest companion in space.” I liked the sound of that phrase, so I wrote it down to get us started.
“Three hours later, the dust bunnies were gone, the bathroom sparkled, and we had a list of about twenty phrases. The next day, I typed them all into a computer file along with all the adjectives I could think of to describe the Moon image Katherine had sent me. My goal was to create a manuscript that evoked that image.
“It didn’t take long for the title Thank You, Moon and the feeling of gratitude to rise to the top. After all, life on Earth—including us—couldn’t exist without the Moon to regulate Earth’s seasons.
“Confident that I’d come up with just the right angle for approaching the book, I dug into the research and began thinking about the structure. I decided to arrange examples in pairs, focusing on what animals need to do to survive—find food, avoid predators, and raise a family. Once I had that plan in place, I began to write.”
Thank You, Moon
by Melissa Stewart
illus by Jessica Lanan
Knopf, 2023
for ages 5-9
ISBN 978-0-593-43507-6
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