A Book Review from Books At a Glance
By Kristin Stiles
Whoa. I did not expect that. Often when I pick up a book, I will read the summary on the back or the inside jacket cover. With this book, I just plowed right into it with no expectations of what the topic was about. The title didn’t give too much away, although I did expect that this book would be about the character of God—His sovereignty or immutability. Well, I was partly right, but I was not prepared for the emotional gut punch that was coming.
The Moon is Always Round starts off with a little boy commenting on how the weather and sky change so much, but that if it is a clear night, he can look at the moon. His father points out the phases that the moon goes through, but constantly repeats to his son that the moon is always round despite how it might appear. The little boy notes the shape of the moon as his mother goes through stages of her pregnancy. It was a crescent when he found out he was going to have a little sister; it was half when they put together the crib; etc. But at each stage, his father reminded him that the moon was still round. It was even still round when his mother had a miscarriage and lost the much-anticipated little sister. This was the part I wasn’t prepared for. The rest of the book deals with the grief that the family experiences from this tragic loss. Throughout the pages, though, the boy is reminded that the moon is always round, and what that means to the father and the son is that God is always good. It doesn’t matter what things look like from our perspective. The enduring truth is that God is always good, just like the moon is always round.
The author, Jonathan Gibson, is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, and this is his true-life story. His family dealt with the anguish of losing a baby and having to explain that to a young son in a way that is consistent with their faith. The analogy of the moon helped them to get through their grief and to still believe in the goodness of God. At the end of the book, he provides “The Story Behind the Book” that gives us the background information.
I love this book. It does exactly what it should. It doesn’t and can’t explain why this precious little baby died. What it does, though, is it pushes past the reasons that we may desperately want to know and focuses instead on the character of a sovereign God who is good and kind and does not change. In the midst of our grief, that is where we must go. That is what we must mediate on. This would be such an excellent resource for a family dealing with this kind of a loss.
I feel I have to add a word of caution, though. Part of my ministry at our church involves choosing books to put on the shelves of our children’s library. As a mom, how would I feel about my young reader pulling this book off the shelf and arriving at that devastating part of the story where we realize that the baby is gone? I feel this is definitely a book that needs to be read together with a child. This is a book to encourage discussion, but not one that I would advise a child reads and processes independently.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
THE MOON IS ALWAYS ROUND, by Jonathan Gibson