The illustrations in Stephanie Hewitt’s LUNA LOVES BISCUITS are vibrant, eye-catching, and have a good sense of humor– all the backgrounds and characters are bright and colorful, purposely making the solid black Luna stand out in an amusing way. Kids will want to enter the tilty house on Tumble Lane and they’ll love “smelly” Ollie and his funny sideways smile. But most of all, they’ll want to cuddle Luna with her happy facial expressions, cutely protruding tongue, and “curly, wurly” fur, and her dilemma will seem familiar to them: should Luna listen to her mischievous friend Ollie and do something she knows she shouldn’t, or live by the moral lessons taught to her by her (parental stand-in) owner, Lilly? LUNA LOVES BISCUITS solves this in a fun, not-preachy way, and ends with a pleasant reward for our cuddly heroine, who promptly starts dreaming about what other mischief she can get herself into.
The charm of the story and illustrations notwithstanding, the actual telling of Luna’s tale could use some shaping and editing. Introducing the character of Luke, Lilly’s brother, by name and with his own illustration and then not using him in the story feels like a missed opportunity, and showing Luke and Lilly with Ollie before we see them with Luna was visually confusing. The sequence of introducing Ollie, his sneaky plans, and Luna’s love for biscuits seems out of order and doesn’t follow well; also, Hewitt initially identifies Ollie as the one who gives Luna sneaky ideas, but in the body of the story, it is Luna herself who comes up with it. Another missed opportunity is the “treasure map of ideas” that is introduced as a visual, but then not followed through. With such an intriguing concept, the reader will want to see some of the fun plans played out in the text/action, but instead we just jump straight to the resolution and moral of the story. While the use of rhyming words is quite fun– “cheeky, sneaky” and “creaky, leaky”, for example– there’s some text repetition in the story that doesn’t seem designed to clarify the ideas for young readers, instead just seeming a bit sloppy and unintentional. With early reading books such as LUNA LOVES BISCUITS, every word carries weight and needs to move the story forward with precision and purpose; Hewitt could use some more shaping of the prose.
Sweet illustrations and a charming main (dog) character who learns a good lesson balance out the uneven and sometimes confusing prose in the children’s illustrated book, LUNA LOVES BISCUITS.