Title: How the Moon Regained Her Shape

Author: Janet Ruth Heller

Illustrator: Ben Hodson

Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing


As a child I loved reading folktales. These wonderful tales of lore always seemed so magical and made me curious about the world I lived in. Learning about different cultures and how everyday problems were solved is a great way to open up a child's mind. This tale of the moon brings the imagination to life while exposing an underlying story of bullying.

There was a time when the moon was round and full. She was proud of her gentle light. The moon danced across the sky and on one particular night she danced across the face of the sun. The sun did not like the moon dancing across his face. The earth darkened and the sun spoke angry words to the moon. This made the moon very sad and she found she could not dance anymore. When the moon's friend comet saw that she had grown small he convinced her to visit a woman called Round Arms. The moon felt welcome in the woman's home. Round Arms showed the moon all of the creatures on earth who loved her and needed her light in the night sky.

Round Arms led the moon to the home of Painted Deer, the artist. Painted Deer was drawing a picture of a forest at night.

I miss the moon,” he said. “The light of the moon makes the forest dreamlike and beautiful, and that is what I want to paint.”

The moon smiled and began to hold up her head.

This wonderful Native American folktale is beautifully done. The illustrations are a superb work of art in this book. The underlying story helps young readers cope with bullying. The emotion gathered in the words and the art really incorporate the emotion of this story. Young readers will feel it and understand it. The back of the book has a moon observation chart that shows readers how the moon revolves around the sun and what they can expect to see. There are also projects and a chart that tracks the season of the full moon. A helpful guide for parents and teachers lists ways on how to avoid sticky situations and how not to show fear. Heller has done a spectacular job with expressing the need to stop bullying and how we can become involved in helping those who find themselves in an unpleasant situation.

About the author:

Janet Heller has a Ph.D. In English from the University of Chicago. She has published poetry, fiction, literary criticism, and essays. She teaches English and Women's Studies courses for Western Michigan University. She is President of the Michigan College English Association.

About the illustrator:

Ben Hodson won a Benjamin Franklin Award for this book's artwork in 2007. He also won a Book Sense Pick in 2006, a Children's Choices for 2007 award, and a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards for 2007. This book was also a finalist for the Oregon Reading Association's 2009 Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award.

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