Susanna Leonard Hill-October 2012
The book is written in the style of a Native American folktale. It is both a story about how bullying can hurt someone and an explanation for the phases of the moon. The two are woven beautifully together. The art has a southwestern feel to it and suits the story perfectly. This book has won a number of awards, including a 2006 Book Sense Pick, a 2007 Children's Choice, a Benjamin Franklin Award for art in 2007, and a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards 2007, all with good reason! It is a lovely, gentle story with a subtle, important message.
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Kristi's Book Nook-April 2012
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.
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.
“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.
Beach Bound Books-May 2012
How the Moon Regained Her Shape by Janet Ruth Heller is influenced by Native American folktales and uses the phases of the moon to teach children how to deal with bullies.
Bullying is an ever growing problem and How the Moon Regained Her Shape takes a unique approach to show children how to regain confidence after dealing with put downs from a bully. The Sun insults to Moon and tells her how unimportant she is. The Moon begins to shrink away and unfortunately, believes the Sun's comments. A Comet sees how sad the Moon has become and shows the Moon the way to Round Arms' home. Round Arms helps the Moon to realize how important her role in this world is.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape helps children to understand that the things a bully says are untrue and teaches them to seek out family and friends that love them for who they are.
This award winning book should be shared in classrooms across the country. Educating children, from a young age, about bullying is the only way to put an end to this growing problem.
Home School Book Review-January 2011
In the tradition of Native American folklore, author Janet Ruth Heller, a professor at Western Michigan University, provides a fascinating story that not only can form the basis for studying the phases of the moon but also teaches an important lesson on how to handle bullying. It is nicely illustrated with Native American type drawings by Ben Hodson. Sylvan Dell always has a “For Creative Minds” section in the back of each book, and How the Moon Regained Her Shape contains three pages of “Moon Observations” including Native American names for each of the year’s full moons, plus one page on “How to Deal with Bullies.” In addition, there are even more online resources and activities related to the book at Sylvan Dell’s website. The book is both fun and educational.
-Wayne S. Walker
Go to review online.
Cheryl Rainfield-March 2011
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is both entertaining and a great tool on how to deal with the impact of bullying or emotional abuse, and how to build self esteem and confidence and belief in oneself. It encourages readers not to hold onto negative comments, but instead to seek out their friends, to seek out positive messages about themselves and to listen to them, and to build up their self esteem and hold onto their self worth. This book can spark positive discussion and bring about a greater understanding of bullying or emotional abuse and its impact. If you've ever experienced bullying, emotional abuse, or felt put-down, or know someone who has, pick up this book. You won't regret it. Highly recommended.
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Books 4 Learning-March 2011
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a brilliant example of how ancient people created stories to help them understand the world around them. The eye-catching illustrations in neutral and muted colors (by Ben Hodson) accompany the stellar storytelling (from Janet Ruth Heller). The book is a creative way to introduce a lesson or discussion on the lunar phases. In addition, the power of words and the effects of bullying are depicted in a powerful but hopeful manner. Though the moon feels hurt and discouraged, she learns to appreciate her unique value—something everyone needs to learn. As a result, she is able to overcome adversity. I highly recommend How the Moon Regained Her Shape for ages 6-11.
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A Wrung Sponge-November 2010
This gorgeously illustrated folktale is about the moon. It is a compelling story about how to deal with bullying, insulting behavior. The sun, with a mean face and a brash attitude, tells the moon she is not needed by anyone. Moon shrinks away to a "sliver of her former self" in shame and embarrassment, until her friend Comet kindly brings her to Round Arms, a woman living at the base of the mountains who knows the power of love and encouragement. By reminding Moon of the ones who love her, including rabbits, artists and women who dance under the light of the moon, Round Arms restores the faith and joy of Moon so that she returns to her full self.
I received word from Sylvan Dell of a link to the ebook version of this volume at their website, which is free to all for the month of November. (click on the book cover in the right hand column of the home page).
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is Sylvan Dell Publishing’s November featured eBook. Anyone can access this book for the entire month of November on the Sylvan Dell homepage.
I showed it to second and first graders in the library last week and they loved it! They wanted to see the print version too in order to hold it in their hands and peruse the lovely artwork, so I am glad to have both versions available in the library. We saw, read and listened to the book on the wide screen in the library and it was a delightful experience. The print copy has had a lot of traffic, and when I left the ebook open on the computer the children flipped through it over & over.
The book has additional information about the phases of the moon on the final pages, and on the computer you can zoom in to see the descriptive diagrams large. The children were fascinated by the difference views of the moon through out the month as it waxes and wanes. I learned something new too; I have been admiring and watching the moon my whole life but I never realized that as it waxes and wanes it appears in predicatable places in the sky at certain times of day:
"As it approaches full, the moon appears to be getting bigger and is visible in the east in the afternoon. About two weeks after the new moon, the full moon rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun rises. The moon appears to get smaller, or to wane, after the full moon. Then the bright side of the moon points to the rising sun. The third-quarter moon is highest in the sky when the sun rises and can be seen in the morning on a clear day. As the moon approaches its new moon phase once again, its sliver (or crescent) is visible in the eastern sky just before sunrise, then after the new moon, in the western sky just after sunset."
So if you see the crescent moon in the sky in the early morning, the light side of it is facing the rising sun. If you see a crescent moon in the afternoon sky, the light side is facing the setting sun. They curl in opposite directions. Makes sense but I never thought of it that together before! So cool to learn new information from a folklore picture book.
The other part of this book that the children were really focused on was the helpful strategies for dealing with bullies. We had just spent some time school-wide talking about dealing with bullies, so the children had it fresh in their minds. They were able to talk about what they had experienced and restate useful, effective strategies for dealing with it in real life, such as leaving the bully without engaging in back and forth, telling someone else, and finding positive, loving relationships to bolster yourself under stress. This book is a beautiful blend of story, scientific information about the natural world, and real life personal relationship wisdom.
Be sure to visit the Sylvan Dell homepage to see this ebook for yourself. And check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup of blog posts at the blog In Need of Chocolate. Enjoy!
Go to review online
Writing for Children and More-December 2010
"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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The Friendly Book Nook-January 2011
I read this book to my class and they got it. Bullying is a huge problem in schools today and the more we can expose children to ways of handling it in their lives, the better equipped they will be to handle it. This is not only a book about bullying, but also about self-esteem and confidence. How the Moon Regained Her Shape is subtle and gets the message across in a non-didactic way.
I love the educational books of Sylvan Dell. The illustrations are great as well as the content. My classes have enjoyed each book I read and the added bonus is many of Sylvan Dell books are also Accelerated Reader (AR) leveled.
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Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile-November 30, 2010
In How the Moon Regained Her Shape, the sun bullies the moon. Where once the moon "danced across the sky, laughing as she twirled her skirts," after the sun's hurtful words, she stopped dancing, hung her head, and "her body began to shrink until she was just a sliver of her former self." Ultimately, the moon's friends help her to regain her self-confidence and return to her former self. The educational section in the back of the book features an essay by the author titled “How to Deal With Bullies," as well as information about the phases of the moon.
I would certainly recommend this book for any children having trouble with bullying. The illustrations (and folktale-like text) are clearly Native American-influenced, which might also be of interest to particular readers. I think the applicability of the message here goes beyond just bullying, to any situation which dampers a child's spirit (trying to fit in with new friends or at a new school, worrying what people think of them, or general self-confidence issues, for instance).
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Heck of a Bunch blog-November 27, 2010
Bullying, along with the effects and consequences of it, has been strong in the spotlight lately. It needs to continue to be addressed so no child or teen has to endure its harshness.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape, written by Janet Ruth Heller and illustrated by Ben Hodson, is a gentle introduction to bullying without being in-your-face forward.
Whether you read this book to your child or they read it themselves, there are many lessons learned and educational points taught. It helps promote self-confidence and gives insight on the Native American culture and folklore. The illustrations are colorful and powerful.
A book that's won many awards, How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a book I'd recommend for smaller children as a catapult on the lessons of bullying, self-confidence, culture, and folklore. I'd even go far as to say it should be a staple in all classrooms for educational purposes.
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Feathered Quill Book Reviews-November 2010
This is a sweet tale that tackles two unrelated topics beautifully. Young readers will learn about the phases of the moon as they see the moon change from a full, round moon to a small sliver, and then back to her former full-sized self. There are also three pages at the back of the book explaining the various phases of the moon. The other theme of the book is how to deal with bullies as the moon is insulted by the sun and must learn to deal with her hurt feelings. As with the moon phases, there is a page at the back of the book discussing bullies and suggestions on how to deal with them.
Written in the style of a Native American folktale (note that it is not an authentic Native American legend), the story is a blend of storytelling mixed with simple lessons. The artwork perfectly matches the Native American theme and is bright and captivating. The book has won numerous awards for both the story and artwork and is likely to become a favorite of many children.
Quill says: A sweet book that wonderfully blends storytelling and education.
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Books for Kids - Nov 2008
How the Moon Regained Her Shape has much to offer the young reader, and indeed, any adult reading the book with the child. While it does have a strong message, which becomes quite obvious rather soon in the book, there are many little lesson packed into very few pages. This work has won multiple awards and just one reading will allow the reader to know why.
This is the story of the moon, a rather happy young lady that enjoyed dancing across the sky, laughing and twirling her skirts as she took pride in the gentle and soothing light she brought. As is so often the case, she runs into a situation that more or less shakes up and alters her world. The Sun, who in this little story is a rather nasty creature who seems quite unhappy with happy people, or in this case, celestial beings, feels the need to put her down. This is often the case with bullies, as you have probably noted in your own life. He insults the happy moon and points out her shortcomings and his superiority. This causes our happy moon to start doubting herself and, indeed, her entire self worth. We also learn that once we know our worth, even further insults, while they may hurt and cause us some anguish, can quickly be overcome by just remembering who we are and what place we hold in the world.
The author has used a folk tale mode to tell this story. She has drawn from the method of the Native American; to tell a story, using nature, to make a point. The story has certainly been influenced by this method of telling a story, but nowhere do I find that the author or artist has tried to pass it off as an authentic Native American Folk Tale. They have merely used a conveyance that has long been in use, a good example being Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whom I doubt seriously would attempt to pass his The Song of Hiawatha as a “genuine” Native American Folk Tale or pass off The Saga of King Olaf as truly Norse. This method is a literary tool and should be taken as such.
All that being said, this is a wonderful work. As one reviewer has pointed out, it is a lesson in astronomy, a touch of history, wonderful new fable, and like all good fables, teaches us lessons. In this work, we find that we cannot let bullies rule our lives; that we all have our strong points and all contribute greatly to the world and, indeed, universe around us. We may not see or be aware of the impact of our lives on others, but nevertheless we do have an impact and we all need to be aware of it. There is, beyond a doubt, a strong feminist message in this work, something I find refreshing as it is not overbearing with the message, but rather gently and practical.
The written text is extremely readable and is ideal for a group read. This simply written text, along with the wonderful short course in astronomy found in the back of the book, which covers information about the moon and its phases, gives the parent and teacher absolute hours of material to discuss with their child; more about this later.
The text is only half the charm of this particular work though. Ben Hodson has done a wonderful job, using a Southwestern Native American motif. While certainly not absolutely authentic, it does convey the feeling and mood in rather interesting color combinations that are absolutely eye catching.
I “kid tested” this work on three different classes of second grade students and it was a hit. In fact, I was asked for second readings by two of the classes. They loved the story and loved the pictures. You cannot get a better endorsement for a children’s book than this.
The book ends with five page mini-lesson on the mood and phases of the moon. This little lesson is for adults and is written as such. The author has given us some nice projects and food for thought for the children.
All in all, the concept of this book is great. Kids love it and it is fun to read with them. The art work is of the highest quality. I hardly see how you could go wrong with this one.
Go to review online
About.com - Learning Disabilities - February 2009
The Bottom Line
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a metaphorical story about overcoming bullying. It is the story of how the once brilliant moon is bullied by the mean-spirited sun and becomes sullen and unable to dance across the sky. A comet, a positive warrior figure, embraces the moon and takes her to a healing woman who teaches her how to overcome the sun’s harsh words with caring friends and inner strength. The book is written like Native American folklore with attractive, southwestern themed illustrations.
- The book has inviting illustrations in soothing colors.
- Activities in the book and on the publisher's website enhance the message.
- The story explores the emotional effects of bullying.
- Positive responses to bullying are modeled for the reader.
- The story encourages drawing on inner strength and social support.
- Learning disabled kids may need help understanding the metaphor.
- The book should be considered part of an intervention for bullying, not whole program.
- Learning disabled kids will need help from adults to develop coping strategies with bullying.
- The book is written on about a late 2nd, early 3rd grade level but can be read to younger children as well.
- Older children will enjoy the earthy feel of the story and related activities.
- LD students will need help through comprehension-building activities.
Guide Review - How the Moon Regained Her Shape
Writer Janet Ruth Heller draws from her background in Women’s Studies and literature in crafting this book. How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a modern-day parable with the feel of an ancient folktale. The book includes activities to explore the moon phases and the Native American names for various full moons throughout the year. The publisher’s website includes helpful pre-reading and post-reading activities, word games, and more supplemental materials.
Not many books send me scurrying for a cup of tea and a quiet reading nook, but this one did. I kept going back to it just to look at the pictures and let the rhythm of the words sink in. It has a very soothing feel and a meaningful message. I think this book could be helpful to children coping with bullying or as part of a therapeutic bullying prevention, intervention, or recovery program.
Students with learning disabilities are often targeted by bullies, and this book can be helpful in teaching them how to overcome the damaging effects of bullying through inner strength.
Passages are short with more narrative than dialog, which often helps children with learning disabilities in basic reading to follow the action and understand the story.
The book includes optional instructional activities teaching moon phases, the lunar calendar, traditional Native American names for the full moons, and a moon cycle craft. These activities can be especially helpful for parents and therapists helping tweens and teens, who are often more comfortable willing to explore emotional issues while engaged in hands-on activities as opposed to direct discussion.
Go to review online
SMS Book Reviews - May 20, 2009
As I've mentioned before (Animals are Sleeping), Sylvan Dell Publishing's motto is Science and Math Through Literature. After every story is quite a few pages of something called For Creative Minds which contains all sorts of fun and educational info and activities for further learning.
In the Creative Minds section for this book you'll find general moon observations which defines words such as phases, lunar, waxes, crescent, gibbous, full moon etc... as well as the Native American names for the moons (Wolf Moon, Grass Moon, Fruit Moon etc....) There are activities to do such as charting the moon for a month, making edible moon cookies and making a phases of the moon wheel. There is also info on how the moons orbit around the earth. There is a quick paragraph about bullies too as the sun bullies the moon in the story.
The Creative Minds section is great for kids who just love to learn and for homeschooling families who are looking for activities to do with their kids on certain subjects.
The story itself is very well done, here's an excerpt:
"The moon tried to start dancing again, but the sun's words tormented her. Her arms and legs seemed to heavy to twirl. She felt very alone in the heavens. She slowly walked along her skypath, hanging her head. Her body began to shrink until she was jus a sliver of her former self."
The book has won some awards and honours which you can see on the Sylvan Dell page for the book as well as view and print out the creative minds activities and see other helpful items such as reviews, quizzes, author interview and related websites.
Go to review online
She Scribes - Jan 10, 2009
It's a story based on a Native American folklore. It's the story of the moon who loved to frolic in the night sky. One day she bumped into the sun and the sun was really mean to her and said some really mean things to her to make her feel like she was useless and unwanted. That made moon very sad and she eventually dwindled down in size to nothing. That is when a friendly comment came to her and brought her to an Indian Lady name "Round Arms". Round Arms took the moon in and told her to ignore the mean comments from the sun. Round Arms then took the moon to meet other people including an artist who loved to paint images at night because he loved how the moon's light make everything in the forest sparkle. Round Arms also introduced the moon to a family of rabbits who loved the moonlight because it meant her children could play outside and be safe from many predators who would get them during daylight.
In the end Round Arms and her friends made the Moon know just how valuable she was to them and how much they loved her. That made the Moon feel good about herself and she regained her shape and proudly took her spot back up in the night sky.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape teaches children how to overcome adversity and build self-esteem. The artwork in this book is gorgeous too! There is a lot of American Indian type artwork and it's very colorful. This book would be great to have in a classroom. It's also an award winning book including the Benjamin Franklin Award, Moonbeam Children's Award and the CBC Children's Choice Award.
Go to review online
Southern Early Childhood Association
What's New in Children's Books? 2008 Edition
This book chronicles the cycle of the moon from the perspective of a human-moon figure. When exuberant moon dances through the sky, she unintentionally blocks the sun's rays. The indignant sun harshly belittles moon and sends her away. Her full, sparkling dance becomes dimmed as she shrinks to a mere sliver. With support from a friendly comet and Round Arms (a woman who can restore the moon), a dancing full moon returns to her celestial path.
Concepts in the Book
- Storytelling to explain natural phenomena
- Interrelationship of all nature
- Bullying/damaged feelings
- Native Americans
I'd use this book with young children because...
Particularly appropriate for children in primary grades, the story's social and scientific aspects (bullying and lunar phases, respectively) address real interests of the elementary school child. Pre-K and kindergarten children will enjoy the cultural/folktale style and social aspects of the book. Every age will be drawn to the beautiful illustrations. The obvious connection of the earth, skies, animals, and humans makes this book a comfortable vehicle to address sometimes complicated and overwhelming issues in a child's world. Supplemental information at the end of the book provides information on science concepts for the elementary child. Overlooking the opportunity for cultural and social learning in favor of only the scientific, however, would do this book a great injustice.
Some Classroom Strategies and Ideas
Pre-K and kindergarten teachers will want to take advantage of the storytelling, social responses, and art techniques found in this book.
Science concepts suggested by this book are plentiful and teachers can plan activities for children to observe natural changes beyond the lunar cycle. The folktale surrounding lunar changes is clarified in scientific terms, illustrations, and suggested classroom activities in an included supplement entitled, "For Creative Minds."
For more activity ideas, visit http://www.sylandellpublishing.com/TeachingActivitiesPage.htm
- Nancy Coghill, Associate Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Director of the UL Lafayette Nursery School
Front Street Reviews- January 17, 2007
Author Janet Ruth Heller and illustrator Ben Hodson have created an exquisite teaching tool in the children's book How the Moon Regained Her Shape. Part astronomy lesson, part history lesson, part fable, this Native American folktale personifies the Moon as a victim of bullying by the Sun. As the Moon progresses through her monthly phases, she walks a path of self discovery and builds self confidence so that she may shine brightly once more.
At the end of the story, there are pages explaining moon cycles in depth and venturing further into Native American folklore. There are also activities to enhance the reader's understanding of moon phases. The information and activities are available for download at the publisher's website, which also contains links to various websites related to the story that can be very useful for educators. Children will enjoy the illustrations and engaging story while parents and teachers will appreciate the learning opportunities provided.
I would have to say that this is a tale for all ages. My five-year-old and eight-year-old both loved the story and plan to read it again and again. I found myself gazing at the beautiful artwork as I read it aloud. The pictures and the story complement each other perfectly, fully conveying the personalities and emotions of the characters. The publisher's website provides an incredible amount of resources and teaching tools beneficial to home schoolers and teachers. The book creators and publisher have produced an invaluable instrument in children's education. -Sabrina Williams
The Edge of the Forrest- January 2007
How the Moon Regained her Shape is a charming tale about the moon, bullies, and finding your true worth.
The moon was a happy, dancing creature. Until the day she crossed paths with the sun: "The earth darkened, and the sun spoke angrily to the moon. 'You ugly scarecrow! People on earth need me to grow their crops. But no one needs you. Get out of my way!'" The moon, dejected, retreats to the earth, unable to continue her dancing.
Fortunately, a comet sees the moon and decides to intervene. He takes her to a woman named Round Arms who feeds the moon mint and ginger tea (my favorite!) and tells her the sun is often bad-tempered. Then she introduces the moon to people who love her—the artist, the rabbits, who use the moon's light to know it's safe outside, singers and dancers. Soon the moon understands she's important too and returns to the sky.
How the Moon Regained her Shape is based on a Native American folktale and Hodson's illustrations fit the text. Inspired by Native American art, the paintings are rich and stylized. Each illustration looks like a moment frozen in time. At the end of the story a five-page "For Creative Minds" section is appended, including facts about the moon, projects (like "edible moon cookies"), a phases of the moon chart, and a note on bullies.
How the Moon Regained her Shape is perfect for the four-to eight-year-old audience and would work especially well with school and library units on either the moon or bullies. -Kelly Herold Go to the Online Review
Cindy's Love of Books blog - Nov 18, 2008
Thank you to Elaine and Rob for sending me this book to read and review. The book won the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Moonbeam Children's Book Award. The illustrations in the book are done by Ben Hodson and they are beautiful done in native art.
The book starts with the moon being round and full. She is happy and dances around. Then she dances in front to the sun. The sun tells the moon she is ugly. The moon was sad. She tried to dance again but she kept thinking about what the sun had said. She went along her skypath hanging her head. A comet sees that she is dragging across the sky and goes to visit her. The moon is getting smaller and he finds out why and tells her she should go to see a woman who lives on Earth who will restore the moons health. The moon is almost invisible when she goes to see Round Arms the woman of the Earth. She talks to the moon and makes her feel better when she finds out what the sun has said. She takes the moon around to people who love the moon ie the artist who paints the forest at night, rabbits who feel safe being out at night, and to a hundred women who sing and dance. The moon feels better and goes back to her sky path where is she strong and full again.
A great thing about the book was at the end of the book there is all kinds of information about the moon. My son loves learning things and I think this is a great thing to learn about.
Go to Online Review
2007 Benjamin Franklin Awards
"Beautiful illustrations ... good use of color." -Judge's critique
"The interior colors and layout are beautiful. The typography is perfectly suited to the page …. From a mom’s point of view: Well done, really nice art and high marks for layout!” - Judge's critique
The Reading Tub - Oct 24, 2008
The moon loved to dance. She was full of happiness, until one day she crossed in front of the sun. The moon was deeply hurt by the sun's mean words, and she began shrinking. It wasn't until a comet friend encouraged her to visit Round Arms that she understood how the world appreciated her. This is a nice twist on the traditional folktale about the moon. The illustrations add to distinguishing the book, as the moon is dressed in colorful garb. We also like the lesson that even on a bad day, there are people who love you, and that love should fill your heart.
About Families Magazine - March 2008
Once the moon was so happy she danced across the sky sharing her gentle light with the world. Then one day, she danced across the face of the sun. The sun became angry and called the moon names and told her to get out of the way. The harsh words of the sun made the moon feel very sad and she began to get smaller and smaller. She no longer felt like dancing.
After meeting the Native American woman, Round Arms, who explains that while the sun has a bad temper and sometimes says mean things, there are others in the world who love her and are waiting to see her dance across the sky again.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a beautifully told story that teaches children about the mysteries of the every changing moon while addressing the problem of bullying and the importance of friendship.
Chicago Parent - April 2008
April 22 is Earth Day so this story could be used in connection with it. Learning links and activities to use with the story can be found at SylvanDellPublishing.com. In this story, sun tells moon she isn’t needed because people just need the sun to grow crops. When comet hears moon’s story, she sends moon to visit Round Arms on earth. Round Arms takes moon around where she first met the artist Painted Deer who was having trouble painting because he wanted the effect of moonlight to finish his picture. At the next stop, mother rabbit is disappointed because her family needs moonlight to gather food. Moon realizes that both the sun and the moon have jobs to do. In the glossary, readers learn words pertaining to the moon and its phases.
Book Reviews by Bobbie - Dec 4, 2008
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a culturally-rich story which will educate children in a fun and interesting way. With topics including self-esteem, bullying, encouraging the ‘bullied’ seek help and various subjects about the moon. This book takes a fresh and enjoyable approach to issues which many children face on a daily basis once they start school and during many of the early, formative years onward. Included at the end of the book are 4 1/2 pages which teach the reader about: moon observations, fun ‘moon’ projects, the phases of the moon and its orbit around the Earth, an Earth to Moon scale drawing and more. This book is beautifully illustrated with deep, vibrant colours and has wonderful intensity and character. It is the recipient of the following Awards: ‘Moonbeam Children’s Book Award’, ‘Benjamin Franklin Award’ and ‘Children’s Choice Award’.
I would recommend this book for children 4-8 years of age, though children as old as 12 years of age would almost certainly enjoy the last 4 1/2 pages.
Go to Online Review
Children’s Literature- 2006
In this story, based on Native American Folklore, the moon is happily passing across the sky when she bumps into the sun. The sun is irritated and points out that he’s needed to grow crops, but no one really needs the moon for anything useful. Crestfallen, the moon slowly loses her energy and confidence. Her friend comet appears, concerned for her well-being and sends her to a woman who is able to show the moon all the people and animals that really do love and need her. Moon regains her shape and returns to dance across the sky. In this way, the cycle and shapes of the changing moon are explained. At the end of the story are five pages “For Creative Minds” that include a detailed explanation of the moon’s cycle along with suggested activities and projects for readers who would like to learn more about the moon. The author also included a definition and description of bullying, explaining that people who are bullied need the love and support of their friends, as the moon did when the sun bullied her. This is a simple but lovely story all on its own, but the addition of the last few pages makes this a book useable by primary and intermediate students alike. It is both a read aloud for story time and a great starting point for intermediate classes beginning research on the moon and planets. The illustrations are done in a variety of media that provide a look that is almost, but not quite, like cut paper. Hodson gives his pictures depth and shadows that appear to have them leaping off the page. This is a wonderful story with outstanding illustration and usefulness. –Sharon Oliver.
That mean ol' Sun, always flaring up at everyone. He roars at Moon, getting her all out of shape. But when she sees how many friends she has among animals and people on Earth, she perks up, poor girl.
Told and drawn as a Native American folk tale (I'm thinking Pacific Northwest?), the story should help kids understand how they can retreat from bullies and stick by the folks who love them. And, oh yeah, there's all these cool phases of the moon to learn about too.
As with most titles from this publisher, there's nifty facts and project ideas in the back. Go to the online review
Tara's View on Books blog - Nov 2008
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a lovely book with a wonderful storyline, good message, and beautiful illustrations. I have read the book several times to my three kids (ages 6, 5, and almost 2) and they all really enjoyed it. The information in the back of the book helped me answer the questions my boys had about the moon. My daughter loves looking at the pictures. I think this would make a lovely addition to any home or school library.
Go to the online review
Resource Links- February 2007
The moon has been hurt. The sadness she carries transforms her shape. Once a round moon, she starts decreasing in size after and unkind encounter with the sun. With the help of friends in the sky, and on earth, she heals. From this encounter, she learns new ways to overcome adversity.
Insults hurt and have an effect on everyone. This needs to be told to children. The moon changes in quite a dramatic way because of the way the sun treated her. Not only does her appearance change, but her spirit changes. She can no longer dance or be happy. However, her outlook starts to change with the help of her friends. Her friend in the sky, the comet, advises her to see Round Arms--a woman he believes can restore the moon. After a warm greeting, and some tea, Round Arms takes the moon to those who need her presence in the sky. The moon listens as Painted Deer and a mother rabbit miss the moon and wish her back. With her head held higher, she starts to laugh, and grow again. She even gets the opportunity to dance on earth before she returns to the sky.
Ben Hodson used materials such as wallpaper and handmade paper, pencil crayons and acrylic paints to illustrate this story by Janet Ruth Heller--a professor and writer of poetry and stories. Multicolored landscapes and changing skies are the background to the moon's journey. In colourful native influenced dress, the moon and her friends add more detail to each picture. The face painting and the decorations in the hair and on the body are interesting to look at. Young readers can follow the phases of the moon (which correspond to the demise of the moon's shape, and later her expansion) on the side panels of every page.
A good book to utilize when discussing bullying behaviour, this book can also be used for a more in depth lesson on the moon. The last few pages in the book are devoted to "Creative Minds." Sections include Moon Observations, a Lunar Calendar Project, and an Edible Moon Cookies Project. Readers can also learn Native American names for the full moon, and see a graphic of the phases of the moon as it orbits around the earth. (The author had Wesley R. Swift, Jr. of the Von Braun Astronomical Society verify the accuracy of the information in the Creative Minds section).
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a useful folktale to share with children. -Tanya Boudreau
Reading Tub - Sept 2008
Summary: The moon loved to dance. She was full of happiness, until one day she crossed in front of the sun. The moon was deeply hurt by the sun's mean words, and she began shrinking. It wasn't until a comet friend encouraged her to visit Round Arms that she understood how the world appreciated her. This is an illustrated story drawing on Native American folklore to explain the phases of the moon.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, read aloud book, early reader
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Age of Child: Started reading with girl nearly 7 years old.
Little Kid Reaction: Our daughter enjoyed looking at the illustrations, and we often stopped to answer her questions. She immediately recognized the sun's actions as being a bully, and we used the opportunity to practice other ways to tell someone what we think/feel. We let our child pick her books each evening, and she picked this one nearly every night for a week.
Big Kid Reaction: This is a nice twist on the traditional folktale about the moon. The illustrations add to distinguishing the book, as the moon is dressed in colorful garb. We also like the lesson that even on a bad day, there are people who love you, and that love should fill your heart.
Pros: Kids will be drawn to this story by the bright, cheerful illustrations. Thanks to the information in the back, they can learn about the moon's cycles.
Cons: In reading the For Creative Minds section in the back, I was surprised that there was no information about folklore. The blurb about bullies almost seems like an add-on and doesn't fit with the rest of the content in this section. If self esteem is a key part of the story, then this needs to be expanded.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a great book to have at home, but it most definitely needs to be in the school or public library.
Educational Themes: This is a book to be enjoyed on several levels. You can draw out more on the bullying theme, as well as talk about folktales. The book makes it easy to overlay traditional history (i.e., how people explained events through stories) with scientific exploration. The material about the moon and its phases is fascinating, and the projects are great. I love the idea of moon cookies!
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.7
Winner: 2007 Moonbeam Children's Book Award, gold medalist; 2007 Benjamin Franklin Children's Book Award; 2007 IRA-CBC Children's Choice Award; 2006 Book Sense Summer Reads Pick
Literary Categories: fiction - picture book, nature, folklore, moon
Go to review online
This telling of a Native American tale on why the moon changes her shape when others put her down and then regains it as she realizes she is of value couples with the scientific explanations and illustrations in the book’s back to teach some basic astronomy about the earth’s nearest neighbor. The book also teaches how to deal with bullies, in this story, a rude Mr. Sun. We rated this book four hearts. -Bob Spear, Publisher and Chief Reviewer Go to Heartland Reviews online
Science Books & Films (SB&F)- October, 2006
Exploration of the Moon is now very much in the news, with a European spacecraft now there, and the planned launch of unmanned probes by India, China, Japan, the United States, and possibly, by Russia. In addition, the U.S. exploration program calls for a manned return to the Moon by 2018, and Europe and China are also considering such an effort. Therefore, a book that stimulates the interest of young people to learn more about Earth's nearest neighbor is welcome.
Janet Heller's book is based on an American Indian legend about the Moon, with characters including celestial objects, such as the Sun and a comet. Native Americans restore a diminished Moon to her rightful place in the heavens, by showing her how much creatures on Earth depend upon her light and enjoy her beauty. The book is lavishly illustrated, by Ben Hodson... Very worthwhile are the instructions at the end of the book on how to observe the Moon, and projects for creating a lunar calendar and directions for illustrating the cycles of the Moon in the night sky. One would hope that the book would motivate young readers and their parents or teachers to learn more about the Moon, including following the space mission in progress and planned. --Marsha Freeman, 21st Century Science & Technology, Washington, DC Go to the online review
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - July 2007
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a children's story influenced by Native American folklore. The 32-page story is a creative way of teaching children about the sun, the moon, feelings, and overcoming harsh words that are spoken. It attempts to teach the phases of the moon while also teaching how to overcome bullying and build self-confidence. Following the story, you will find pages of interesting facts about the moon, Native American names for full moons, and fun projects that correlate with the story.
The story is intended for ages 6 to 10 and can be used in any educational setting. The hardback book sells for $15.95, and the paperback sells for $8.95. It was selected by the Society of Illustrators 2006 The Original Art Exhibition and was a Book Sense Summer 2006 Children's Pick. Additional "Learning Links" and "Teaching Activities" can be found on Sylvan Dell Publishing's website. Colorful, detailed illustrations and an engaging and expressive story line make it possible for every learner to enjoy this product.
Having an interest in the Native American culture, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was an engaging and fun read. I also enjoyed the illustrations on each page. The different patterns, shapes, and figures represented the Native American culture well.
Overall, I would recommend this story. It is one of seeing yourself as who you were created to be. It could be a great springboard for discussion on different cultures and beliefs, how to gain confidence, and how to see ourselves through the eyes of God.
Go to the review online
With its stunning artwork and gentle words based on Native American folklore, How the Moon Regained Her Shape tells the story of the moon, and how she unwittingly angered the sun by dancing across his path. The sun's angry words upset the moon so badly that she ceases to travel her skypath.
With the help of her friend the comet, and several other richly illustrated characters, the moon learns how important and loved she truly is. The moon slowly regains her self-confidence, and learns a valuable lesson in dealing with bullies.
The phases of the moon are charted in the corner of each page, while at the back of the book is a section entitled "Creative Minds." Here you will find a variety of fun and educational activities including a chance to make a moon cycle circle, or to explore the Native American tribal names for each month's full moon. Armchair Interviews says: How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a lyrical and uplifting story to be shared with your 6 to 10 year old.
-Jennifer Peacey Go to the online review
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database
This simply written book is an excellent example of how to help children understand and overcome bullying. Self esteem is positively addressed in a strong, delightful tale. When the sun bullies the moon until the moon does not feel good about herself and becomes very small, it is time for action. Fortunately, a comet helps her. Through a visit to earth, the moon learns how an artist, some rabbits, and a hundred women depend on her light and want her to return to fullness. At the end of this earthly visit, the moon has regained her pride and sets out to shine again. However, from that point forward, she continues to shrink to smallness when she is insulted and then back to fullness when she regains her strength. This unique way to explain moon phases has long been part of Native American folklore. Fantastic artwork covers the pages with layered paper illustrations dressed in Native American design and colors. End pages contain extra information about moon phases and observations. Teachers and readers can check Sylvan Dell’s website for kid-friendly astronomy sites that extend the material in this book. The book is sure to be checked out many times, so make it a part of the elementary classrooms and libraries. -Nancy Garhan Attebury. Go to Children's Literature online
Rambles.net - July 2007
How The Moon Regained Her Shape is the kind of book I wish I had in my possession as a child. Not only is the story endearing, but there are sections to challenge young inquisitive minds including a glossary of "moon" vocabulary containing scientific facts on lunar shapes and even a moon recipe for baking.
To coincide with the Native American theme, we also have information pertaining to the lifestyles and surroundings of tribes who believed in keeping track of the seasons by naming each of the full moons. This is a lovely way for children to have an introduction into American Indian folklore.
To keep in line with the National Curriculum in Citizenship, we have a parallel theme of bullying using the moon and sun as metaphors. In essence, the sun "bullies" the moon, who loses her shape and confidence and seeks allegiance in others to rekindle her sparkle.
The illustrations are a combination of American Indian patterns and vivid colours. I think this book would be most valuable in the Key Stage 2 area, but I don't think older children would find it babyish as there are very sophisticated tasks in the back of the book that they could incorporate into a science lesson.
Janet Ruth Heller is using her initiative by making her book not only visual, but also one containing kinaesthetic tasks that children can tackle hands on.
Go to the review online
Judith Nasse, Reviewer
This illuminating book is cast in a folktale format as it tells the tale of the phases of the moon. Moon is happy until the Sun intimidates her. She shrinks until she is nearly faded away. How will she recover her former self? This book tells how in a way that is at once a story we can relate to in our dealings with others and informative in explaining the waxing and waning of the moon.
Author Janet Ruth Heller tells the story very well. The collage illustrations, done in a Southwestern style create a good partnership with the text. Ben Hodson uses soft, low tone pastel colors to depict the seeming fragility of the moon. The information and activities at the back are a treasure trove for a seven or eight year old creating a report on the moon. This book is a welcome addition to any home or classroom library. -Judith Nasse Go to her website
Powell's Books- September 2006
How the Moon Regained Her Shape influenced by Native American folktales, is a delightful story that emphasizes dealing with adversity, building self-confidence, and understanding the phases of the moon. After the sun insults her, the moon gets very upset and disappears - much to the chagrin of rabbits who miss their moonlight romps. With the help of her friends, the moon gains more self-confidence each day until she is back to her full size. The For Creative Minds section explains the phases of the moon and helps to answer those pesky questions like ?why is the moon up during the day, or why does the shape of the moon change? Moon crafts and games supplement the understanding. Ages 6-10. Book Sense Nominee. Accelerated Reader. Recommended by: Heartland Reviews & Armchair reviews.
Go to Powell's Online
This is the story about having confidence in who you are, about pride and loving friends. The story begins as the moon is dancing across the sky; she is round and full, filled with gentle light. The angry sun yells at her and calls her names. The moon takes the sun's angry words to heart and she becomes depressed. A comet friend comes along and offers a helping hand. He takes her to a Native American woman Round Arms, who explains about bad tempers and bullies. Round Arms takes the moon to visit many people who love and miss her. The artist needs her dreamlike light while painting the forest. The rabbits miss her moonbeams, making it safe for them to romp and play at night. As the moon hears all of these positive, loving words from friends who love her, she begins to laugh and grow larger. Regaining her self-confidence and her pride she understands that she should not let a bullies angry words hurt her or keep her from her friends.
The "For Creative Minds" section in the back of this book was vetted for scientific accuracy by Dr. Wesley Swift, Jr., Director of the Von Braun Observatory.
Moon Observations & Fun Facts is part of this educational section. Native American names for full moons as well as moon projects, a lunar calendar, a recipe for moon cookies are just a few of the fun things you can enjoy with your child. A graph that helps you understand the moon is fun and informative. -Shirley Labusier
Horn Book Guide- Fall 2006
Bullied by the sun, the once cheerful moon dwindles until helped by numerous women. Both the folktale-like story and the art are clearly influenced by Native American culture. The mixed-media illustrations are attractive.
Midwest Book Review- March 2006
How The Moon Regained Her Shape is a picturebook story influenced by Native American folklore. After the sun insults the moon, her pride is wounded and she disappears; yet with the help of all her friends and admirers, she gradually regains her full shape and size. The last few pages are a "for creative minds" section packed with astronomical definitions and simple projects that children can do pertaining to the moon, such as making moon cookies or viewing the moon's phases. The stylized artwork and the educational addendum perfectly complement this enchanting fairy tale. Go to the online review
BookLoons.com - July 2007
In How the Moon Regained Her Shape, Janet Ruth Heller tells a story about recovering from bullying, centered on the phases of the moon and 'influenced by Native American folktales'. Ben Hodson's lushly detailed illustrations emphasize that context.
It begins, 'Once the moon was round and full, proud of her gentle light. She did not fear the darkness around her. She danced across the sky, laughing as she twirled her skirts.' But one day, 'she danced across the face of the sun', who angrily called her ugly and told her that no-one needed her. Shamed and tormented, the moon shrunk into 'a sliver of her former self.' But when friends convinced her that she was loved, she grew full again, encouraged by their admiration.
At the back of the book is an excellent section on Moon Observations, explaining lunar phases, showing lunar orbits, and suggesting projects like Lunar Calendar and Edible Moon Cookies. There is also a sensible comment on bullying, including the wise advice that 'Children who are being bullied often need the help and support of their friends, just as the moon does in this story.'
Bullying is something real that exists in our world. For children, this can only be sheer torture. The story is presented in a way children can truly understand and find helpful.
The moon danced across the face of the sun and he responded harshly – calling her an “ugly scarecrow” and telling her that no one needed her. The moon apologized, but the sun’s words still haunt her. She loses her spark and soon becomes a “sliver of her former self.”
A comet friend is worried and decides to visit his friend. When he learns what has happened, he suggests “Round Arms,” who lives “at the foot of mountain.” With directions, the moon makes her way to find the woman who can possibly help her.
Round Arms and the moon have tea that “tasted like mint and ginger” – “the moon felt refreshed.” She told Round Arms about what the sun had done. Round Arms hugs the moon and takes her hand. The moon would be taken to a place where she could “hear what those that love you are saying.”
The moon soon learns that she is loved and missed. She takes the healing words of those that miss her back to the sky. “Now, whenever someone insults her and she dwindles, she remembers her good friends on earth. Then the moon regains her strength and fullness.”
In the back of the book, Sylvan Dell Publishing has added something for “the creative minds.” The moon observations, moon phases, and moon projects are presented in a way that should engage children, parents, and teachers for discussions.
The illustrator, Ben Hodson, did a superb job with the book. It’s simple, colorful, and would capture the eye of even the youngest reader.
The book displays the “Children’s Choices” award and is available in hardcover for $15.95 at your local bookstore.
Homeschool Kid Book Reviews - February 2008
How The Moon Regained Her Shape is about the moon being taunted by the Sun, and the Sun was saying mean things to the moon. The Moon lost her shape when the Sun did that to her. She began to shrink. And then the Moon went to earth, and she learned some lessons from Round Arms about the people that loved the Moon. And then she felt better.
This book is a good one for teaching a kid how to deal with bullying.
Go to review online
ReviewYourBook.com - July 2008
“A Story About Self-Confidence, The Power of Words, and Compassion”
My pre-schoolers did not like this book. However, I believe this book is geared toward elementary school children.
The story is influenced by a Native American folk tale. The illustrations and story keep the Native American theme throughout. In this story, the sun makes fun of the moon. The moon sulks and changes in size and shape. The moon finally realizes her wealth. She regains her shape and size.
The illustrations are bright and bold. The words are simple to sound out. The theme is important. This is a book for all elementary school children—boys and girls. Teachers will be able to use the book in the classroom.
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Sabrina's Reviews - February 2008
How the Moon Regained Her Shape is a beautiful narrative about acceptance and self love with some science thrown in. I was delighted when I received this bookand my sons were excited as well. We opened the book right away and started reading. My sons, who are 5 and 2 were engrossed by the vivid pictures. We spent a lot of time discussing the colorful illustrations and what the story was about. The actual text was a little bit above my sons' concept level but they still enjoyed the time we spent reading.
My friend's daughters visited and I had them read How the Moon Regained Her Shape as well. They wrote short reviews as well. Hailey (age 9) wrote:
How the Moon Regained Her Shape... is very funny and it has a lesson to it. It's lesson is, that no matter how bad someone makes fun of you, you can always know people love you. I liked the part were [sic] people sing about her! I also like the pictures.
Katie (age 7) wrote:
How the Moon Regained Her Shape. It was realy [sic] great and nobody can make you feel sad. People should always be there to help. You can change feelings and not be sad.
How the Moon Regained Her Shape came to me with 3 golden stickers celebrating the awards it has received. The author and illustrator both deserve all the awards attached and several more!
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CM: Canadian Review of Materials - March 2008
But one day [the moon] danced across the face of the sun. The earth darkened and the sun spoke angrily to the moon. “You ugly scarecrow! People on earth need me to grow their crops. But no one needs you. Get out of my way!”
How the Moon Regained Her Shape was published by Sylvan Dell Publishing in 2006 and has since been recognised with a number of awards. Written by Janet Ruth Heller and illustrated by Ben Hodson, How the Moon Regained Her Shape relates the story of how the moon responds to bullying insults uttered by the sun. The moon’s initial response is to withdraw, but, after encouragement from others, the moon eventually returns to the sky.
The story is influenced by First Nation legends, and Heller’s sparse text has the “feel” of oral storytelling. The text features careful word choice that allows a great deal to be conveyed with relatively few words. In one example of the careful choice of words, Heller writes of a comet that sees the “dwindling moon dragging herself across the sky.” Used in this context, “dwindling” and “dragging” are evocative words that help the reader to develop a deep sense of the sorrow that the moon feels.
Cheered by the encouragement of people and animals that miss the moon’s presence, the moon eventually decides to return to the sky. The moon reasons that the sun has a job to do, but that she also has a job to perform. The moon also has friends who admire her for the manner in which she performs her duty of lighting the night sky. These are, of course, important messages for all people to be aware of—we all have a role to play, and we should not allow bigger and brighter others to bully us into submission.
The mixed media illustrations of Ottawa artist Ben Hodson feature acrylic paints, handmade papers, wallpaper, pencil crayons, gesso, ink, and glue on watercolour paper. Born of this elaborate combination, the illustrations are beautiful. The illustrations are reflective of what appears to be an Arizona desertscape, including such things as sand, sparse vegetation, roadrunners, mesas and buttes, coyotes and the occasional cactus. In addition, a three-dimensional, shadowed element to the illustrations is reflective of one influence that the sun and the moon have upon the earth, creating contrasting areas of light and darkness.
An intriguing fore- and middle-ground palette of muted colours complements the dominant background colours. Without seeing the artwork, I would have had difficulty envisaging such beautiful illustrative co-existence of purples, pinks and blues, with liberally employed browns, greens and greys. It really does result in a visual feast and readers will be fascinated by the illustrations. The artwork is attractively framed with a colourful border design. The borders contain a depiction of the phases of the moon, reflecting the story protagonist’s changes throughout the book.
At the end of the book, five pages of supplementary material are also included. Entitled “For Creative Minds,” this additional material enhances the educative value of the book and potentially increases the enjoyment readers will derive from Heller and Hodson’s work. Included among the end page material are various definitions and explanations, web links, illustrations, and activities. This is a book that can be put to good use in schools and libraries. It is a book that I recommend highly.
Barbara Ann Mojica-March 2013
"This book is a wonderful addition to any library for so many reasons, First, it is a wonderful Native American folktale explaining how the phases of the moon came to be."
"Children and adults will readily appreciate the relationship of this folktale to bullying."
"The language of the story flows along. You get the message without being overpowered by it. The hundred women who danced and sang express their hope in a beautiful poem. The reader learns about good and bad feelings and how to deal with them."
"To sum up, this book may be used on many different levels and for many different reasons..."
"The illustrations are beautifully done in mixed media in muted colors..."
"Parents, classroom teachers and homeschooling parents will find this book well worth their investment. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it."
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-Gregory Bryan lives in Winnipeg, MB. He teaches children’s literature at the University of Manitoba.
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