To the Moon and Back, book review

to the moon and back

Title: To the Moon and Back
by: Dianne Bates
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Claire’s mum has been keeping secrets … and now she’s left Claire’s dad and dragged her to live in a run-down shack in the country!

Claire is definitely not happy. Not only has she had to leave her dad, her friends and her perfectly good life in the city, but now she has to deal with her mum’s new boyfriend, ‘Mac’.

With Claire’s mum apparently in love the Mac and their new life, it looks like it’s up to Claire to bring her ‘real’ family back together again.


Claire is an eight year old girl whose life is turned up-side-down. Her seemingly happy life changes in an instant, when one night, while Claire’s dad is at work, Claire’s mum leaves the house with her and they never return.

Claire is devastated. She loves her father more than anything.

But her mother keeps insisting that Claire knows why they must leave…

Then to Claire’s dismay, she discovers her mother has a new man in her life. Mac. He is kind and gentle, but Claire has trouble liking him because she just wants her dad back, and he will never take the place of her real father.

Claire’s life takes a turn for the worse when her new family moves to live in a run-down shack in the country at Dr Harry Mountain. There is no electricity and no toilet—just the hole in the ground way down the path through the long grass. And there is no door to the toilet!
Claire’s new life is everything she hates.

But slowly, things change. There’s a dog, a goat, a new school, new friends and new adventures, and the sun starts to shine a little brighter for Claire.

Author, Dianne Bates has woven the topic of domestic violence into her chapter book, To the Moon and Back with gentleness. Lurking in the background of the story are memory flashes of Claire’s father hitting her mum with little detail, but enough to understand that physical violence is happening. Claire would then remember her father being overly apologetic and super nice afterwards lavishing them with flowers and gifts and whatnot.

However, over-riding the issue of violence which is lightly touched upon in the story, is the never ending love Grace has for her daughter. Claire is loved to the moon and back, even when she is bombarded with emotions of guilt and hate and anger and says unkind things to Mac out of disappointed and rejection by her father. The upheaval in Claire’s life is absolutely an emotional rollercoaster ride. Up-ending a life to start another is fraught with uncertainties and apprehension, with anxiety high on the list, not to mention starting a new school and making new friends. Claire’s reaction to her new situation is understandable.

To the Moon and Back is a journey of emotions of an eight year old girl, named Claire. It is also a story of hope, of new beginnings and happiness that returns in leaps and bounds.

Purchase a copy:

Title: To the Moon and Back
by: Dianne Bates
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781+25520293
Category: children’s fiction
Pages: 291

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Drinker, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Member of:
Queensland Writers Centre
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