BOOK REVIEW: Faces of the Moon, by Bob Crelin

Posted by Matt Quandt
on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Faces of the Moon cover image
Guest review from Contributing Editor and Columnist Glenn Chaple

If you’ve ever doubted that the elegance of the night sky can be expressed poetically, you haven’t encountered Bob Crelin’s young readers’ book Faces of the Moon. With a marvelous blend of science and rhyme, Crelin tells the story of the Moon’s phases in a way that a youngster (and many adults) will understand and appreciate. Bob’s verse and artist Leslie Evans’ beautiful illustrations bring to life a complete cycle of the Moon’s phases, from one New Moon to the next.

Each phase is covered in a two-page spread comprising Crelin’s poetic description and Evan’s artistic rendering of the Moon’s appearance and location at that time. A unique feature of Faces of the Moon is the cutout windows that "animate" the phases as you turn the pages. Index tabs depicting the various lunar phases make it easy to target a specific phase – a kid-friendly approach that eliminates the need for a table of contents or index. Faces of the Moon concludes with an explanation of the Moon’s orbit and phases and a list of Moon facts (done in rhyme, of course!).

I learned about Faces of the Moon during a talk presented by Bob Crelin at the Conjunction Convention last summer. His enthusiasm was so infectious that I immediately purchased a copy of his book for my grandchildren. Recently, I took my 5-year-old granddaughter, Katie, outside to look at the Moon, both with the unaided eye and through my telescope. I then brought her inside, took out her copy of Faces of the Moon, and asked her to point to the index tab that showed the Moon the way we had seen it. She correctly pointed to the First Quarter Moon. She may have been a bit too young to understand orbits and shadows, but she had no trouble matching what she saw outside with its corresponding page in the book. A few months of showing her the real Moon and follow-up references to Faces of the Moon, and Katie will have a better handle on the Moon’s phases than most adults (except, of course, those who purchase the book for their own children).

Teachers looking for a book describing the Moon’s phases can do no better than Faces of the Moon. They’ll appreciate the book’s reasonable cost (just $16.95, plus shipping) and its non-technical approach to a topic that youngsters often find confusing. A free teacher’s guide is available at

An optional Moon Gazers’ Wheel at an additional cost of $4.95 augments Faces of the Moon. By rotating the chart to match the Moon in the sky with the phase illustrations shown in the cutout, you can name the phase and determine the Moon's position in orbit, its rise and set time, and the time of day or night that this phase is visible in the sky.

You’ll find much more about Faces of the Moon by logging on to As my friend and longtime amateur astronomer Bob “Barlow” Godfrey says, “Please consider sharing this new book and Moon Gazers’ Wheel information with your family, local educators, astronomy clubs, scout organizations, libraries, and other community-based youth organizations.”

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