David Cox on Ayu and the Perfect Moon.
Article Type:
Book review
Books (Book reviews)
Gorrie, Jessica
Fenning, Taylah
Potts, Rebecca
Pub Date:
Name: Practically Primary Publisher: Australian Literacy Educators' Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Australian Literacy Educators' Association ISSN: 1324-5961
Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 3
NamedWork: Ayu and the Perfect Moon (Picture story)
Reviewee: Cox, David

Accession Number:
Full Text:

'In 1974, my wife and I, supported by a joint grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, travelled to Indonesia for the first time. Like so many other people we were charmed by the island of Bali and its artistic people, and we have returned to the country several times over the years.

My wife, Betty Beath, is a composer and she composed music to accompany the words of Indonesian poets, and together we wrote a music drama for children, The Raja who Married an Angel. We made many friends in Bali, especially amongst the artists and musicians. Betty studied Balinese gamelan music and I made drawings of everything I saw.

Ayu was just a small girl in a Balinese village. She was being trained for the traditional dance, the Legong, an important dance that originated in Balinese palaces. It is a dance of quick, graceful steps and hand movements. Small girls are the ones who perform the dance with most beauty; when they grow a little older they are no longer Legong dancers.

Ayu was taught along with two other girls and we were lucky to be able to follow their training and rehearsals. They had never danced the Legong before and, by tradition, their first performance would be held on the night of a full moon. They danced in ornate costumes on bare earth and under a big moon. It was beautiful.

The Indonesian word for 'perfect' is 'sempurna', and the words for 'the full moon' are 'bulan purnama' When I was writing this book I put the words together in a kind of pun: Ayu and the Perfect Moon, to reflect the moon's perfect roundness and because it was a time of perfect happiness.

Ayu's family moved away from that village that Betty and I visited, and we lost touch with them. I imagine that Ayu may be a mother now, and she might be a lawyer or a doctor ... she was a clever girl.

Ayu and the Perfect Moon

David Cox

Ayu and the Perfect Moon is a children's picture book written by David Cox and is based on a true story. This book is about an old woman in Bali, telling three younger girls about herself when she was a little girl. Her name is Ayu and she tells the girls about how she danced the Legong (which is a traditional dance in Bali) underneath the full moon, in front of the whole village in the town square.

During this book, I realised that old Ayu had held a passion for dancing since she was a little girl.

The thing I like about the book is the illustrations. They look like they have just been drawn onto the page with a black pen, then coloured in with oil pastels and had a wash of water over the top. The pictures are what made me interested in the book!

I would recommend this book to anyone who prefers pictures to words and recommend the book for children aged between 7 and 9. I believe that this age group may like the book the best.

The additional green section at the back of the book tells you that the author and his wife went to Bali and explains how he was inspired to create the book.

Jessica Gorrie, Buxton Primary School

Ayu and the Perfect Moon

David Cox

Ayu and the Perfect Moon is a picture book by David Cox which is about a girl who loves to dance and is given a great opportunity. But in the book she is an old lady who is telling three young girls her story.

There are a wide range of drawings that are very detailed and interesting. I love the colours of the drawings. Some are darker than others but I think it represents the landscape and life of the village very well. In the drawings there are very thin black lines that give the picture detail and character. It almost looks like a very fine black pen has been used.

I believe that the book would be great for younger children. It would teach them about different culture and I think they would love the pictures. It also has a simple storyline making it easy to understand. Therefore I recommend Ayu And The Perfect Moon to younger children or for people who struggle with reading.

Taylah Fenning

Buxton Primary School

Ayu and the perfect moon

David Cox

Ayu and the Perfect Moon is a picture book written by David Cox set in a Balinese town. The book shows an old woman, Ayu, telling her three grandchildren the journey of how she became a dancer.

Ayu had always wanted to be a dancer right back from when she was a little girl. Her mother was her inspiration. Her mother used to dance the Indonesian dance, the Legong, in the village square. Ayu practised dancing, and the prince of the village told her that she must dance for the village one night when the moon is full. She waited, waited, and waited, and each night the moon would get slightly bigger. On the night of the full moon, people came from near and far to the village square to watch the dancers.

I think this book should just be a picture book with no words. The words haven't got a lot of detail in them and aren't very exciting. The book does not seem to have a climax and therefore lacks interest. That's why I think that this book should just have illustrations so the reader can simply tell the story from their own imagination. I do like the way the pages have been set out though. The illustrations are very interesting. It looks as though they have been drawn with pencil first, then the artist added water colours for a more detailed effect.

I would recommend this book to children aged 7-9 years old. The book may be a bit too sophisticated for children aged 5 -6 and slightly boring for those 10 and up. I think 7-9 year olds would enjoy this book the best because the text is appropriate for their age, but the pictures are still appealing enough to keep the reader interested. All in all I believe that this book would interest readers who enjoy looking at illustrations, rather than reading text in books.

Rebecca Potts

Buxton Primary School
Gale Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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