Sneak Peek at Uma Luma Goes to the Moon
Today I’d like to share a sneak peek from the book Uma Luma Goes to the Moon, which will be available on October 8, 2015. This is from chapter seven, which is titled, “Sleepless.” Enjoy!
She got up and went to the window, stepping over a pile of building blocks and plastic horses. She pushed the curtains aside, and light filled her room. But it was nighttime! How could there be so much light?
Uma scanned the night sky and realized the light was coming from the moon. She stared at it with awe and wonder. It looked so big, hanging there in the sky and glowing with a soft, pretty light. She looked across the trees and fields around her house. Uma was surprised at how much she could see. Usually, it was pitch black at night in the country, or there was just enough light from the moon and stars to make out large shapes—trees, cars, and the neighbors’ houses in the distance. But tonight, under the full moon, everything was visible.
One of the feral cats was creeping around near her dad’s truck. She caught movement at the edge of the yard. Fixing her eyes on that spot, she watched a family of raccoons moving through the brush. Uma giggled as they disappeared behind the blackberry bushes.
That’s when she noticed the crickets singing. She’d heard them plenty of times before, but they were usually in the background while she was watching cartoons or reading to her mom or dad. Tonight it was so quiet, their chirping was the only sound that filled the air. Uma Luma rested her elbows on the windowsill and listened to their song as she stared at the moon and stars. She’d always thought the night sky was black, but now she could see that it was deep, dark blue.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
All across the sky, tiny dots of light glittered and sparkled. Some were a little larger than others. For the first time, Uma noticed that a few were tinted with a hint of blue or yellow. There was one bright dot that was slightly bigger than the others, and it didn’t twinkle or sparkle. Uma watched it for a while and then turned her attention back to the moon.
At school, all the kids drew the moon as yellow, but it was mostly white, maybe a bit gray, and it was so big, Uma felt like she could reach out and touch it. But it also looked small and distant.
“How could something look so big and so small at the same time?” she wondered aloud.
Uma could make out shadowy shapes on the surface of the moon. She’d heard about the Man in the Moon, and her mom and dad had tried to show him to Uma Luma, but she never could see his face.
Then Uma remembered her telescope. She ran to her closet and pulled open one of the folding doors. It made a loud creaking sound that echoed through the house. Uma’s eyes went wide and her heart raced. Had the noise awakened anyone? She became still and listened carefully but didn’t hear anyone stirring. Then she crept to the door and peeked down the hall. It was quiet; nobody was coming.
Slowly and silently, she crept back to her closet and opened the other closet door. Her telescope was way in back, behind her hanging clothes. Uma carefully slid it out and then carried it across the room to the window.
She removed a cap from the eyepiece and then removed another cap from the lens. She positioned the telescope so the big end was pointing out the window, and then she looked through the little round glass at the smaller end, but she couldn’t see anything. It was all black. Uma moved the scope around, trying to see a star, the moon, anything, but she couldn’t see a single thing.
There were several knobs on the telescope. She tried twisting and turning them, and she tried moving the telescope around, but it was no use. Every time she looked into the eyepiece, all she saw was black. She wished the telescope was easier to use.
She frowned as she picked up the telescope and moved it out of the way, and then she returned to the window and looked at the sky, wishing she could see everything from close-up.
“I know!” Uma Luma said. “I’ll use my binoculars.”
She turned around and scanned her room, trying to remember where she’d last seen her binoculars. Had she tucked them under her bed? Stuck them in one of her tote bags? Shoved them in the closet? Uma was glad her mom wasn’t there to remind her that if you don’t keep your room clean, you won’t be able to find anything.
Uma scurried to her desk and pulled the drawers open. Even though the light of the moon was bright outside and her nightlight provided dim lighting, she couldn’t see very well, so she went over to her nightstand and got her flashlight. Back at her desk, she rummaged through the drawers but couldn’t find her green binoculars with little red ladybugs on them.
She didn’t bother closing her desk drawers before she went over to her closet. The doors were still open from when she’d gotten her telescope, and she poked around, looking in bags and boxes, but she didn’t find the binoculars there.
Next she got on her hands and knees and looked under her bed. There was a lot of stuff under there—dolls, an old sweatshirt, pink cowgirl boots, and a few books. Uma reached under the bed and shoved things around, but she didn’t find what she was looking for.
Next she checked her dresser drawers, and then she looked through her toy box, but the binoculars were nowhere to be found. After all that searching, Uma Luma was pretty tired. She was so tired that she almost forgot what she had been searching for in the first place. But then she caught a glimpse of the moon through the window. She pushed herself to her feet and made her way through the clutter of her room to the window.
“I wonder how far away the moon is,” Uma Luma said dreamily.
Uma Luma blinked and yawned, and then, without thinking, she grabbed a pillow from her bed and pulled her thick blue comforter onto the floor and spread it out below the window. She wrapped it around her body, snuggling into its warmth, and looked out at the night sky. She had a perfect view of the moon and the stars. She yawned and closed her eyes for just a minute, and when she opened them again, she saw something moving outside her window.
Uma Luma sat up and rubbed her eyes. When she looked out the window again, a shadow passed in front of the moon, and for an instant, the light that filled her room dimmed. She blinked and wondered if she had imagined it. Was something really out there?
Then it happened again—the shadow passed in front of her window, and the light of the moon disappeared for an instant.
Uma pushed herself to her feet and pressed her nose against the window. She scanned the night sky. Something was flying around out there! It was big, and it was swooping and soaring in broad circles, getting closer and closer. It was heading right for her!