Author: Janet Ruth Heller
Illustrator: Ben Hodson
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9764943-4-8 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-934359-02-0 (pbk.)
Reviewer: Karen Cioffi
Folktales, also known as tall tales, and folklore, are stories specific to a country or region. They are usually short stories dealing with everyday life that come from oral tradition that is passed from generation to generation. Most often these tales involve animals, heavenly objects, and other non-human entities that possess human characteristics.
There is Mexican folklore, Irish folklore, Chinese folklore, and many other countries that have tales unique to their area. There is also American folklore. And, there is folklore that comes from each of the 50 states. Janet Ruth Heller created a wonderful children’s picture book based on a specific American Indian folktale.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape tells an enchanting story of the moon being ridiculed by the sun. The sun claimed that the moon was of no use, compared to the sun who was essential to growing crops for the people on earth.
Prior to this encounter, the moon would “dance across the sky, laughing as she twirled her skirts.” But, after, the moon became sullen, tormented, and “began to shrink until she was just a sliver of her former self.”
Fortunately, a comet befriended the moon and told the moon to seek out “a woman on earth named Round Arms.” The moon did as the comet suggested. Round Arms showed the moon all the help the moon gave to the people and creatures on earth – this allowed the moon to see her true worth. The knowledge and encouragement Round Arms provided gave the moon the confidence to regain “her strength and fullness.” And, it also provided a blanket of security that helped her overcome any future insults hurled her way.
Along with a fanciful story focusing on bullying and self-esteem, the illustrations are full page, vivid, and outstanding. To top it off, Heller includes a learning guide that offers information on moon phases, Native American names for each of the full moons, and a “How to Deal with Bullies” page.
Unfortunately, bullying is a prevalent issue in today’s world, especially with internet abuse. There is an urgent need to find strategies to curtail bullying, and also help victims cope. How the Moon Regained Her Shape will be a valuable tool in the effort to help children cope by helping them understand that words are only words, they do not define us.
Teachers and parents will find How the Moon Regained Her Shape a great resource in broaching the topic of bullying. And, children will absolutely love the story and vivid full page illustrations.
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