REVIEW and GIVEAWAY – Moonfinder by Jay Ryan (with fun add-on Oreo Cookie Moon Phase Project!)

You’ve probably deduced by now that we’re pretty big on science and astronomy here.  My husband and I love taking big concepts and making them attainable for our girls.  {Check out our nuclear fusion bubble party here.} That’s why I was instantly intrigued when asked to review Moonfinder, written and illustrated by Jay Ryan of Classical Astronomy.  Here’s the synopsis from their website:

Moonfinder is the story of a little boy who learns about the phases of the moon with his dad. Each page includes a full-color illustration depicting the location and appearance in the sky of the moon at each phase, along with “celestial” views showing the corresponding position of the moon in it’s orbit around the earth. With Moonfinder, every member of the family can learn how to follow the monthly cycle of the moon’s phases!

While scoping out their site I noticed that Classical Astronomy is Christian-based. Now, I don’t make it a secret here that we’re educating our daughters’ secularly and without emphasis on any one specific religion. We discuss them all as they come up in life and in our subjects.  That being said, although we’re not religious, we are NOT the type of self-absorbed Scrooges who demand a vague Happy Holidays over a hearty Merry Christmas. I appreciate my Christian homeschooling counterparts and and also utilize Christian resources that I can cater to fit our lifestyle.  I was curious to see if Moonfinder would be adaptable for us and appeal to secular folks as well.

Survey says?  YES!

If you’re secular don’t overlook this book.  Yes, there is a Psalm quote on the title page and one reference to God in the book.  I chose to read these parts with my girls and discuss them a bit (it spurred me to actually dust off our Bible and read through Psalm 8); but if it’s not your thing you can easily omit it while reading.

Moonfinder is beautifully done.  The lovingly painted illustrations, along with the straightforward ease of the text, captured the attention of all three of my girls.  (No small feat for the assorted attention spans of a 2, 4, and 6 year old.)  It was just long enough for Mira to grasp the concept of the moon phases without being too long to lose Lyra’s sporadic interest.

The book is so well done that you might just walk away knowing a bit more about our celestial neighbor than you did before; and your children will vie for the coveted title of “Moonfinder” every time they walk out the front door.

This book provides the perfect opportunity to tie in some fun “tangible” projects.  I prepped for our initial reading by adding a new word to Stella’s Silly Sentence Flashcards.

I also made a portable reflective moon using some cut cardboard and tinfoil.  Check out the before and after.  Looks lunarish, no?


Then I grabbed a few more supplies:

  • Moonfinder by Jay Ryan
  • Oreo cookies (or whatever gluten-free, calorie-free, sugar-free, non-artificial creme filled cookie you have in your cupboard)
  • Makeshift moon (you can use a paper plate but I preferred sturdier cardboard)
  • Craft sticks
  • Marker
  • Flashlight
  • Globe (not pictured.  Sorry, I forgot!)

If my girls were a bit older I would have had them help me draw and label the phases on our moon.  I opted to do it myself since the fun edible part of the activity was where I knew they would rather spend their time.  (FYI- I found that a dab of Purrell hand sanitizer will wipe away any mistakes you make.)  You can use this diagram to help draw your phases or print out some related printables from Enchanted Learning.

After reading the book together, my girls tried to recreate the phases of the moon with our reflective moon, flashlight, and globe in a dark room.  We experimented moving the moon and globe around to see what shadows we could make.


After that we made our way to the kitchen table to create our own edible masterpieces by scraping the creme-filling of an Oreo cookie into the shape of each phase of the moon.  All said and done, the hardest part of this activity is keeping your kids from eating the mini-moons before you complete them all.  There will be crumbs.  And broken cookie pieces.

Cleanly twisting apart an Oreo is harder than it looks . . . 

. . . but well worth the effort.  When completed you have one scrumptious and educational treat.

Betcha didn’t know the moon goes good with milk?

And now the fun part!  One of my readers will win a copy of Jay Ryan’s beautiful book Moonfinder!  Read through the Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Kristen

Home schooling classically with a dash of whatever strikes our fancy.
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28 Responses to REVIEW and GIVEAWAY – Moonfinder by Jay Ryan (with fun add-on Oreo Cookie Moon Phase Project!)

  1. Julie says:

    I love all your posts:) I probably like your artist series the best.

  2. Amy says:

    I liked your curriculum list and your approach to math.

  3. Tanya Rubezhov says:

    Love your blog! Subscribed to your e-mails.
    Thank you for sharing great ideas and for the giveaway.

  4. Mud Hut Mama says:

    I love your reflective moon & oreo phases – such a cool idea. My girls love playing with shadows so I think they would be really into that and I will be looking for cream filled cookies the next time we are in town!

  5. CathyC says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

  6. I’m loving this project – clear instructions and you answered the questions I was forming as I read your post

  7. Jane Ritz says:

    I love your posts. The only thing I can see from a teacher stand point is to be a little more technical. You’d be surprised what the little ones are expected to know. Thank you for this wonderful give away. I have a little moon gazer grandson.

  8. Heather says:

    love the artist series

  9. Laura says:

    I love your section on curriculum. BTW–we’re using here as well and love it!

  10. Shelley quiroz says:

    I loved the adventures in art series. You gave me some great ideas to use with my 5 year old. Thanks

  11. This looks awesome. My son is really into astronomy now.

  12. Chelli says:

    You know I love your blog! But I really appreciate when you post on science. I am NOT a science person at all.

  13. Amy says:

    I love everything too! I loved reading about your Latin studies, resources you’ve used to teach your girls to read, and about book binding =)

  14. Angela says:

    Wow, that Oreo moon project is just too cute!!! I love your blog, I really need to read it more regularly again.

  15. Debbie says:

    Wow – very cool!! We’ve been increasingly intrigued by astronomy here, too. Love this post!

  16. Jill says:

    That looks like a really fun way to help kids understand the phases of the moon. Mine would love the cookie aspect… 😉

  17. Melanie says:

    How smart to use Oreos to show the moon phases! I’d just have to keep my boys from eating them long enough to teach them!

  18. Melanie says:

    I just tried to follow you on pinterest but couldn’t get the link to work 🙁

  19. Jessica says:

    My daughter (18 months) just recently discovered the moon, she loves looking for it! Thank you for sharing this book. It will be added to my list of books to get! I absolutely love the Oreo idea! Good for you!

  20. What a cool and yummy way to teach the kids about the moon phases! I would love for you to share this on our Made for or by Kids Linky

  21. Thank you for such a great review and giveaway! I’m following you on Pinterest now, but I had problems with the link as well. The link in the rafflecopter box is broken, I believe. Just wanted to let you know 🙂

  22. Mrs. Warde says:

    I tried to follow you on Pinterest, but the link is broken and I couldn’t find you by searching. Would you please re-post the link so that I can find you, please? Thank you!

  23. Misty Taylor says:

    I love the music and movement section

  24. Adrianne B says:

    I really like your homeschooling ideas, especially the Music and Movement suggestions.

  25. Ticia says:

    I’m always a fan of getting more ideas for science and history…… 🙂

  26. Diane Hurst says:

    I like the Oreo cookie idea! The Moonfinder book sounds great, too. I know I’m too late for the giveaway, but wanted to make a comment because the cookies look like fun– edible school ?

  27. Pingback: Kid’s Co-op | Glittering Muffins

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