Many Moons

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For the song, see Many Moons (song).
Many Moons
Many Moons
Author James Thurber
Illustrator Louis Slobodkin
Country United States
Genre Children's picture book
Publisher Harcourt, Brace & Company
Publication date

Many Moons is a children's picture book written by James Thurber and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. It was published by Harcourt, Brace & Company in 1943 and won the Caldecott Medal in 1944.[1][2] Princess Lenore becomes ill, and only one thing will make her better: the moon. Unlike much of Thurber's other work, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and his fables, this story shows a crisis between males and females that ends happily for all.

Despite winning the Caldecott Medal with Slobodkin's original illustrations, a reprint in 1990 by Harcourt featured the text accompanied by new illustrations by Marc Simont.[3]

It was made into an opera by American composer, Celius Dougherty. It was also made into a play, adapted by Charlotte Chorpenning.


Many Moons is about a sick princess who wants the moon. The princess is perhaps more sick at heart than body. Her father, the king, is enraged when the wizards, the Lord High Chamberlain, and the court mathematician can't get the moon. In the end, it is the jester who realizes that the princess thinks the moon is only as big as her thumbnail and made of gold, so he goes to the goldsmith, who makes a necklace with a gold sphere on it. The jester gives it to the princess. The King then worries that she will see the moon in the sky that night and realize that the necklace was not the real moon. The jester goes to check on her. The princess thinks that whenever something is taken, it is replaced, like her tooth, a unicorn's horn, and flowers.


  1. ^ American Library Association: Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present. URL accessed 27 May 2009.
  2. ^ Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1943.
  3. ^ Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Marc Simont. Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1990.
Preceded by
The Little House
Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Prayer for a Child