Moon Girl

December 13, 2013

Moon Girl. Beatrix Tambunan. 2012. 31 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of StoryCartel.]

Moon Girl follows a young girl whose primary focus in life is lighting up the Earth’s moon alongside her older sister Sun Girl, who lights up the sun. She lives in her sister’s shadow and begins questioning her place in the world, her acceptance from others and her self-worth. Eventually, she leaves to find a place where she can be truly appreciated and valued for what she has to offer.

At its core, Moon Girl is a story about self esteem and self-worth in the face of difference. It examines how people view themselves in their world and helps you understand that you have unique place in the world that can only be filled by you. It also helps you reflect on how important it is to show appreciation for someone’s contributions, even though they may not see it themselves.

The story is also a great chance to talk about astronomy with kids, as the story essentially takes place off of Earth and in outer space. Moon Girl can also be used to discuss the differences between diurnal and nocturnal animals, their habits, and what happens in the absence of daylight or moonlight.
This was an interesting and necessary concept, that, unfortunately, fell short in its implementation. While the message is great, the writing was not compelling or particularly interesting and did not result in a cohesive, interesting book. I found the writing to be simple and repetitive in its syntax and style and didn’t flow naturally.
The biggest drawback for me was the style of the illustrations. The coloring and shading were my favorite part of the illustrations. She was able to really highlight the contrast between night and day by using this method. However, the drawings themselves were overly simplistic, lacked detail, and frankly, looked as if a young child had drawn them. Particularly with children’s books, the illustrations are almost as important as the words in the story; the two go hand-in-hand to create a quality story and book. These illustrations don’t match up to how potent of a story this should have been.

With edits and new illustrations, this could be an amazing book. As it stands, however, it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not likely to find its way into our regular reading rotation.

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