Production History

I. First Edition Printing: 

Many Moons was first published in English in New York by Harcourt, Brace and Co. (HBC) in 1943, with illustrations by Louis Slobodkin.

II. Other Editions:

English Editions of Many Moons (WorldCat):

 Title    Illustrator, Contributor, or Translator
 Edition City: Publisher
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1943New York: Harcourt Brace & Co.
Many Moons [A Story for Children]    
 L. Slobodkin
 1944London
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1943New York: Scholastic
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1946Chicago: Dramatic Pub. Co.
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1966New York: Harcourt Brace & World
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1967New York: Associated Educational Services Corp
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1970Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1971New York: Harcourt Brace & World
Many Moons [Early Bird Series]
 L. Slobodkin, Co-Authored by C. Dinan
 1971London: Kaye & Ward
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1971    New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1971San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1971New York: Scholastic Book Services
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1975
London: Kaye & Ward
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1980New York: Harcourt Brace & World
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1987San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace
Many Moons
 M. Simont (new illustrator)
 1989New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Many Moons
 M. Simont
 1989San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace & Co.
Many Moons
 M. Simont
 1990San Diego: Harcourt Brace
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1991Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1991San Diego: Harcourt Brace
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 1997San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Many Moons (Paperback)
 M. Simont
 1998San Diego, Calif: Harcourt Brace
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 2003San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.
Many Moons
 L. Slobodkin
 2009Paw Prints

In 1990, a new printing by Harcourt Brace introduced Many Moons with a new illustrator, Marc Simont (who had previously illustrated Thurber’s The 13 Clocks). A review of the new edition in School Library Journal (1991) says that “although the Caldecott-winning edition illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (HBJ, 1943) is the one that many parents and librarians grew up with, this new full-color version by Simont has a charm of its own.” It is described as being “more modern in appearance,” with the backgrounds “generally sketchy, giving the characters center stage” (Cerny).

Images of the original, Slobodokin-illustrated cover (1943) and Simont’s more “modern” interpretation (1998) are below:


Translations of Many Moons (WorldCat):

Many Moons has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, French, Danish, and Braille.

 TitleIllustrator, Contributor, or Translator
 Language Edition City: Publisher
Many Moons
L. Slobodkin
 Braille 1900sLouisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind
Many Moons
L. Slobodkin
 Braille 1972Boston: Horn Book
Muchas Lunas    
Juan Marchesi
 Spanish 1983Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor
Ḥa-Nesikhah she-ratstah et ha-yareaḥAśi Ṿainshṭeyin; Ṭovit Uriʼel Hebrew     1990Israel: Ḳorʼim
Måneskin og miraklerM. Simont
 Danish 1991Bagsværd: Carlsen
Muchas LunasJuan Marchesi    
 Spanish 1992Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor
Lune après luneL. Slobodkin, Nakagawa Chihiro yaku French 1992Paris: Kaléidoscope
Takusan no otsuki-samaL. Slobodkin, Nakagawa Chihiro yaku Japanese 1994Tōkyō: Tokuma
Voglio la luna!M. Simont/ Glauco Arneri  Italian 1995    Milano: A. Mondadori
Takusan no otsuki-samaChihiro Nakagawa
 Japanese 1995Tōkyō: Tokuma
Luas e luas    
M. Simont
 Portuguese
 1996Sõ Paulo: Ática
הנסיכה שרצתה את הירח
Ḥa-Nesikhah she-ratstah et ha-yareaḥ
ʻAśi Ṿainshṭeyin; Ṭovit Uriʼel Hebrew     1996קוראים,‏ [Ḳiryat Gat?] : Ḳorʼim
ʻOd yareaḥL. Slobodkin, Rimonah Di-Nur Hebrew 1998Tel Aviv: Zemorah-Bitan
아주아주많은달 /Aju aju manŭn talL. Slobodkin
 Korean 1998시공주니어, Sŏul-si : Sigong Juniŏ
Voglio la luna!M. Simont/ Glauco Arneri  Italian 1999Milano: A. Mondadori
Muchas LunasJuan Marchesi
 Spanish 2001Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor
Luas e luasM. Simont
 Portuguese     2002São Paulo: Ática
公主的月亮 / Gong zhu de yue liangM. Simont, Qingyan Liu
 Chinese 2003和英, Xin zhu shi : He ying
公主的月亮 /Gong zhu de yue lianM. Simont/ Peijian Xing Chinese 2008南海出版社, Haikou: Nan hai chu ban she

Below are the covers of a Japanese translation edition and a Spanish translation edition (with illustrations by Juan Marchesi) of Many Moons (images retrieved from Amazon):


Other Media Editions & Notes of Publication History (WorldCat):

Many Moons has been printed and/or published in Large Text formats, eBooks, and sound recordings (WorldCat). Here are a few examples of other formats:


 TitleIllustrator, Contributor, or Translator
 Format Edition City: Publisher
 Many MoonsL. Slobodkine-Book 1943New York: Harcourt Brace & Co.
 Many MoonsPhilip Reed (Woodcuts)Documents 1958Saint Joseph, Mich.: Printed by A.M. & R.W. Roe
 Many MoonsRead by Peter Ustinov; music composed and conducted by Ed SummerlinBook & Children's Record 1973Caedmon TC 1410



III. Other Significant Notes of Publication History: 

The publication papers are available in English as archival materials from 1940, including one folder of manuscripts and fourteen illustrations. They are held at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The abstract for these materials specifically highlights that the papers include:

“Corrected typescript, correspondence, ink, color pencil & watercolor dummy, sketchbook with assorted studies in pencil & ink, matted study in watercolor, ink & color pencil, ink, & charcoal pencil dummy with separations, pencil, ink & watercolor dummy in sketchbook, pencil & ink dummy (large), ink, color pencil & watercolor study for cover, printer's proof for cover only, ink, pencil & watercolor studies for end pages, printer's proofs, pen & ink dummy” (WorldCat).

There are additional archival materials, circa 1958, that include “2 sets of colored press sheets [10 sheets total], proof of title page signature, black and white proofs, black and white proof for title page,” with contributions from both Thurber and Philip Reed (WorldCat).


IV. Other Media Adaptations or Performances:

In addition to the Harcourt, Brace and Co. e-book version of the 1943 edition in English (WorldCat.org), Public Media, Incorporated appears to have released a colored, children’s film version of Many Moons in January, 1983 with a duration time of 10 minutes (Books in Print).

Further, Many Moons has been made into a fantasy opera by American composer Celius Dougherty, as well as a play, adapted by Charlotte Chorpenning, published by Dramatic Publishing.

Prior to the writing of the book Many Moons, Thurber collaborated with other members of Ohio State University’s Scarlet Mask Club in 1922 to create Many Moons: A Musical Comedy in Two Acts (AbeBooks.com). In a letter to Herman and Dorothy Miller on 28 May, 1943, Thurber writes that the children's book has “no relation to the Scarlet Mask play of the same name—1923)” (Kinney, p.355). An image of a first edition copy of the musical is below (image retrieved from Abebooks):




V. Sales & Availability:
While the total number of copies sold and sales by year are unknown, we do know that according to Books in Print, Many Moons has several formats currently still available and/or in print. Of these, here are a few examples:

 Publication Date Publisher Format Price (USD)
 August 1987 Turtleback Books Hardback- Reinforced Binding 17.20
 January 1946 Dramatic Publishing Company Hardback 6.25
 April 1973 Perfection Learning Corporation Hardback- Library Binding 14.65
 January 1983 Public Media, Incorporated Film 210.00
 July 2009 Marco Book Company Hardback- Sewn 9.01

It appears both old and new copies of the title can be found in multiple formats (paperback, hardcover, film, and audiocassette) from various sources, including publishers and other retailers such as Abebooks, Amazon.com Marketplace, Alibris, and Barnes & Noble (Books in Print). For a comparison of current prices (USD), see the information below:
  • Better World Books: $4.68 (c 1943) (WorldCat)
  • Barnes & Noble: $12.68 (c 1943) (WorldCat)
  • Barnes & Noble: $7.00 (paperback, 1973 reissue) (Barnes and Noble)
  • Amazon.com: $6.19 (paperback, HMH Books for Young Readers, 1973 reissue)
  • Harper Collins Publishers: $9.95 (audiocassette, not available from retailer at this time)
  • Abebooks: $797.50-759.00 (1st Edition/1st Printing)
The original publisher, Harcourt Brace, has Many Moons for sale in both hardcover and paperback, as well..

Based on the favorable reviews that Many Moons has received and continues to receive (see Critical Reception), one might assume sales continue to be fair. As of November 2013, the average customer rating on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble's website, for instance, is 4.5 out of 5 stars. 


VI. Awards & Honors:
Many Moons received the 1944 Caldecott Medal for Louis Slobodkin's illustrations.

Here is an 
image of the letter Louis Slobodkin wrote in 1944 to the Caldecott Medal committee chair, Harriet G. Long, in response to the letter he received notifying him of that he had won the award for his illustrations in Many Moons. The letter can be viewed on the "75 Years of the Caldecott Medal" timeline from the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).




VII. Historical Advertisements:
Historical advertisements for Many Moons were largely found on newspaper pages dedicated exclusively to selling children's books, several during the holiday shopping season. One merely mentioned the Caldecott winner in an ad for another Louis Slobodkin illustrated book, Colette and the Princess, while another tacked it on to an advertisement for James Thurber's new adult book, Men, Women and Dogs

 Description  Full Advertisement & Transcription Close Up
New York Times Display Ad 118

[New York, N.Y] 04 June 1944: BR10.
 

The 1943 Caldecott Medal has been awarded to Louis Slobodkin for his illustrations in MANY MOONS by James Thurber
$2.00
 
New York Times Display Ad 132

[New York, N.Y] 14 Nov 1943: BR31. 
 

James Thurber's
First Story for Children
With illustrations by Louis Slobodkin

The tale of a little princess who wanted the moon --and how she got it.

"Thurber at his gentlest and simplest and most charming. Many a grown-up will relish this book as fully as the youngsters." -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"Louis Slobodkin's illustrations float on the pages in four colors. They are the substance of dreams, not troubled dreams but the long thoughts little children, and some adults wise as they, have about life." MAY LAMBERTON BECKER, N. Y. Herald Tribune.
$2.00
MANY MOONS
 
Washington Post Display Ad 52

[Washington, D.C] 05 Dec 1943: L11.
 

by James Thurber
A story for children
With four-color illustrations by Louis Slobodkin. $2.00
MANY MOONS
 
Boston Sunday Globe Display Ad 97

[Boston, Mass] 31 Oct 1965: A_42.
 

COLETTE AND THE PRINCESS
by the creator of such favorites as Magic Michael, Dinny and Danny, and Millions and Millions, and winner of the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations for James Thurber's Many Moons
For ages 5 to 8
at bookstores $3.50
 
New York Times Display Ad 160

[New York, N.Y] 05 Dec 1943: BR12.
 

by James Thurber
A story for children
With four-color illustrations by Louis Slobodkin. $2.00 
MANY MOONS
 

The advertisements above were retrieved from "Historical Newspapers Online" ProQuest Historical Newspaper search on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library Newspaper Database



VIII. Current Promotion:
Below are examples of how Many Moons is currently being reviewed, shared, and promoted. More reviews can be found on the "Critical Reception" page of this site.  

  • Editorial Review, Publishers Weekly (1987): “The charming Caldecott Medal-winning fable of a sickly princess who knows she will be well if only she can have the moon in the sky. Ages 4-8. Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.” (Amazon.com)
  • Editorial Review, Barnes & Noble (N.D.): "Princess Lenore is ill, and won't get well until she owns the moon. The King summons all his wise men-the Lord Chamberlain, the Royal Wizard and the Royal Mathematician-but none of them knows how to get the moon for his daughter. Finally, the most unlikely of figures-the Court Jester-sorts out what to do. First published in 1943, this edition has fresh new pictures by artist Marc Simont." (barnesandnoble.com)
  • Book of the Week, Gabrielle Blair (2006): "Love this very sweet story by James Thurber. My mom introduced this to me years ago and it is beloved by my children. The princess Lenore has fallen sick from eating too many raspberry tarts and only having the moon fetched for her will make her well. Haven’t we all been there? The princess content makes it seem like it will be a girl book, but it’s actually not very frilly and my boys like the story as well. The illustrations by Louis Slobodkin are amazing — they practically float off the page." (Design Mom)
In some cases, libraries are using new media like video book trailers to promote Many Moons to young readers and their parents. 

Here is an example:

Moorseville, IN Public Library: Many Moons


Moorseville Public Library: Many Moons, by James Thurber (MPL Book Trailer #122)

Description: Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) and Cauli Le Chat Productions present a book trailer featuring the children's classic "Many Moons," by James Thurber.










IX. Serialization, Sequels & Prequels:
Many Moons was a stand-alone book; as such, it was has no sequels or prequels. In the 1990 reprinting with Simont as illustrator, however, the book became a part of the Harcourt Brace Contemporary Classics Series (Cerny). 
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