Last year, a lovable pet iguana with an insatiable appetite burst onto the children’s books scene and succeeded in stealing the hearts of readers of all ages.
Delightfully infectious with vibrant illustrations to convey the important message of preservation of Earth and the natural landscape, Big Mo by Megan Padalecki carried on in the tradition of esteemed literary forebearers like Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak who examined a child’s place in the world. Seuss and Sendak taught us that doubt and questioning the world around us is a necessary vehicle in growth. Yet, sometimes the answers to life’s most puzzling questions can be ascertained when we look inside our hearts. Children are naturally inquisitive. The trick is to maintain a lifelong curiosity as we become adults.
San Antonio native Padalecki clearly sustained her curiosity of life into adulthood. As important, she understands what children need as their minds are growing. The world can be a scary place. We are all unique. We all have something to offer this world. Once we discover and accept our individuality, we can carve out our place in society.
In her second book, Little Moon, Padalecki uses the depth and mystique of the ocean to explore a new character’s journey of self-discovery. The ocean serves as the perfect metaphor for life. What is out there? Life has much to offer us. Yet, we fear the vastness of its possibilities. How will we fit in? What is our place? What predators must be conquered externally? But fear often is that internal predator determined to undermine our courage and confidence.
Little Moon, a lovable squid, speaks to us and our inner desire to belong. What we discover is that even failure equals success because we never gave up trying.
The prose and illustrations in this book are clever and imaginative. Young readers won’t be alarmed by the urgency of Little Moon seeking to understand her fellow ocean dwellers because they will see her self-determination. In addition, Little Moon affords parents and educators the perfect teachable moment: We want children to recognize the beauty within themselves, to love themselves and the special gifts they have to offer the world. As parents and teachers watch children read Little Moon, they can open up a dialogue with them about how they are unique and special.
I highly recommend Little Moon. I applaud Megan Padalecki for creating another book that inherited the tradition of literary excellence begun by (National Indie Excellence Award winner for Best Picture Book) Big Mo yet can stand on its own feet for its unquestioned brilliance and uniqueness.