Intentional Balk by Daniel Levitt and Mark Armour

SEATTLE—The night can be a scary time. It is dark. It can be a magical time too. Stars are out, the moon is bright. Strange and perhaps marvelous noises drift in through an open window. Gwen, a little girl in a very big bed, awakens to a noise one night and goes to her window. In the tree outside, she finds a very big bear. Together they climb to the top so the Moon Bear can taste the honey dripping from the full orange moon. 

The Moon Bear, a full-color children’s book recently released by Clyde Hill Publishing, marks the literary debut of Seattle’s beloved Public Radio host Steve Scher, who built a reputation at KUOW-FM for giving guests the space to present their ideas with nuance. Scher brings a similar sensitivity, and an ear for poetic language, to his newest project. 

Gwen and her friend the Moon Bear popped into Scher’s mind unbidden, like a mysterious noise in the night, he says. “Their voices sang to me, whispered to me and there they were.” 

Illustrator Sarah Waller brought those voices to life through images imbued with the mystery and magic of the Pacific Northwest. Her richly detailed illustrations simultaneously manage to convey humor and hope.  

Artist Jo Gershman brought Scher’s words and Waller’s images together in a design that echoes the lyricism of the text. 

Scher, a personality at Seattle’s KUOW radio for more than twenty-seven years, now writes on Whidbey Island, where he hears to coyotes howling, watches bats flit across the starry sky, and listens to tree frogs serenading one another. Sometimes, on nights when there is a big full moon, he knows there may also be a marvelous creature shaking a big old tree. 

“Gwen and the Moon Bear teeter up there on the tippy-top. I hope they tumble into your heart the way they tumbled into mine.”