Keeper and the Blue Moon

In case you were asleep in that part of science class, a blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month. Since the moon is full approximately every 29.5 days, the possibilities are limited. Central to Kathi Appelt’s middle grade novel, Keeper, and almost a character in the book is the blue moon. I intended to wait for the next blue moon before I wrote about the book. When I discovered that will be a year from now, I changed my mind.

In Keeper, many things await the full moon. Keeper watches as Signe stirs up her crab gumbo for the night of the blue moon. Mr. Beauchamp’s night-blooming cyrus waits for the moon before it unfolds its beauty. And Dogie has plans to sing his two word song on the night of the blue moon. He’s delayed this song too long, but now he is practiced and ready. In music, he can lose his stutter and sing the two words clearly, “Marry me, marry me.”

Even the two dogs, the cat, and the seagull with a disability seem caught up to have a good time when the blue moon shows its face. But all that ends when Keeper hears the crabs begging to be set free. Abetted in her lapse of judgment by the animals, she ruins the hopes of gumbo, the flower, and the song. Then as good authors do, Kathi Appelt turns up the heat, increasing the danger for Keeper as she sets out to find her mermaid mother who she believes will set things straight.

Touches of fantasy weave through the novel like a golden thread. Skillfully woven flashbacks portray the longing for relationships in each of the main characters. Not to spoil the ending, part of the solution will come from another source awaiting the full moon.

A story this good only comes along once in a blue moon, so even if you are not a middle grader, help yourself to a good read.