Willoughby and the Moon

by Greg Foley

{I didn’t realize until today that I bought a signed copy from Hennessy + Ingalls. So cool.}

Willoughby Smith could not sleep.

Anxious, restless Willoughby discovers that the moon is just outside his bedroom door, and quickly comes to the rescue of a snail who can’t find his favorite silver ball. The snail is afraid of even more things than Willoughby. Willoughby faces his biggest fear with confidence, and gains a whole crowd of friends in the process.

This book made me do a double take. It’s slightly unassuming, but then, just in the right light, it sparkles. The illustrations are primarily black and white, but rivers of glossy silver pack quite a visual punch. The pages are rich in texture; the silver shines alongside its matte black and white counterparts. Also, in addition to flat color, halftone patterns pepper the shadows for an extra layer of lovely. In design, contrast refers to the differences in two elements. Black versus white is a stark, simple, and highly effective design choice.

In Willoughby and the Moon, black, white, and silver perfectly echo the night adventures of Willoughby and the snail. Nighttime is a monochromatic world, and Willoughby’s sparkle is in the silver. Color would have been the wrong choice for this book.

Greg Foley’s design choices complement the story perfectly. They also guide the reader’s mood and prepare his heart for Willoughby’s nighttime adventures.

One final design not to miss:

The back cover may not be an obvious location for dynamic illustrations, but how clever is this? The back cover is the flip side to the front. The moon now occludes the title, and you see the silver shelled snail, left in the moon dust as Willoughby travels back to his bedroom. You have also travelled to the moon and back, just in time for bed.


  • Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    So interesting. The pictures are sensational. Different and fun! I think my son would love this. :)

  • Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Plus, snails in space rule!

  • Posted February 13, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    This is gorgeous! And that back cover is truly fantastic – I love little surprises like that. I’m really enjoying flipping through all your design analyses. Although I’m a writer, I am crazy for design, and primarily love picture books for the illustration and layout (sh, don’t tell anyone!). In fact, many of my children’s poems are directly inspired by art, so I’m always looking for illustrations that speak to me. I’m a new follower and fan, Carter – good stuff!

  • Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Renee! I won’t tell i f you won’t :)

  • Posted February 13, 2012 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    LOVE your blog and your commentary about book design. I gave you a Liebster award!

  • Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    I love the front and back covers and the 360 degree impression it gives. those are the clever little touches that make books stand out to kids and adults alike. Our minds and eyes are easily pleased!

  • Posted August 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes, they are! It’s the simple things.

2 Trackbacks

  • […] they completely captivated me. Fellow 12 x 12er, Carter Higgins discussed the illustrations HERE on her blog, Design of the Picture Book. You really should head over and see Carter’s site. […]

  • By Boy + Bot « Design of the Picture Book on June 4, 2012 at 5:27 am

    […] might be one of my favorite back covers ever. I do love the reflection, {found on this cover as well,} but come on….the barcode on Bot’s behind? Impossible not to love. Enjoy this […]