In The Moon is Always Round Jonathan Gibson has given us a fine gift – the tragedy of the stillbirth of his daughter turned into a book to help children process suffering.
Illustrated beautifully by Joe Hox, Gibson takes us through the story of that loss through the eyes of his son Ben, using the waxing and waning of the moon as an illustration of something that we can’t always see but we know is always there.
In the same way, God’s goodness is never to be doubted, even when at times it is obscured by shadow.
Discerning readers will appreciate the care with which Gibson has written. This is not just a story for his own son but for every child of God that has ever wanted to have a simple, but not simplistic, answer to the question of where God is in the tragedies of life.
The story lands at Psalm 100:5, “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” However, Gibson’s explanation continues in the appendix where he provides lessons for the children reading, the story behind the book and finally a brief Cathechism. It is there that we see how robustly mature the theology of the book is as Gibson takes us to the Cross as the “concrete example” of “God’s goodness in difficult times”.
After further reflection it quickly becomes clear that the cross saturates the book. Hox has drawn 10 different crosses into his elegant pictures; some obvious and some discrete. But once you see them there you can’t unsee them. Which is, of course, what Gibson is intending for every person who opens this book, whether it’s a 3 year old like Ben or the adult reading along with them.
The Moon is Always Round is everything that we need in a theodicy for infants. Age-appropriate yet not shying away from the pain of tragedy. Theologically precise without ever being dense. Children will enjoy reading it, parents will further appreciate the explanation and tools Gibson has provided in the appendix for teaching our children just where God’s goodness is ultimately to be always found.
image: New Growth Press