'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
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
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
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
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.
Buxton Primary School
Ayu and the perfect moon
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
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.
Buxton Primary School