Total Pageviews

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Winter Moon Song, written by Martha Brooks and illustrated by Leticia Ruifernandez. Groundwood Books, 2014. $18.95 ages 7 and up

"Once upon a time, in the far deep woods, when the snow looked like a giant hand had tossed a blanket of stars to earth, there lived a rabbit. He was a youngish rabbit, not so small as to be a still-doted-upon baby, yet not big enough to be noticed in any significant way. He loved to sing - not by himself, but he was learning to do so, quite confidently, with others."

What a lovely lead to a memorable story!

I wonder if the rabbits that gather in my backyard on these cold winter nights are looking for the rabbit-in-the-moon. I had never considered this question until I read Martha Brooks' first picture book for children!  I know that now I will find myself looking for the rabbit rather than the man when I look at the moon on chilly winter evenings.

Her book is a story within a story and tells of a young rabbit leaving choir practice, and pausing to wonder about the rabbit he can see on the moon's bright face. As he contemplates its beauty, he remembers a story his mother has told him about their Great Mother, Creator Rabbit.

With starvation threatening Creator Rabbit's life on earth, a young rabbit passing by wants to show his respect for Great Mother and his allegiance to her. To save her from a certain death, he jumps into her stew pot in hopes of giving her the sustenance she needs to survive. Great Mother, in a turnabout, grabs him from the pot and hurls him at the moon, where his image can now be seen by all rabbits during the long and dark winter. His image is the motivation for singing Winter Moon Song.

We also learn that the song has always been performed within walls.  The little one thinks that all rabbits may be missing an opportunity to be in the presence of real magic ... they just need to go outside where they can see the moonlight and feel the pull of the moon's face. It is inspiration for joy and celebration. Thus, traditions are changed by those who are willing to have a say and encourage others to make such a change.

Ms. Brooks knows how to tell an engaging and memorable story. The watercolor and ink artwork, done mostly in blues and whites, match the charm of the text and offer a lovely setting for the young rabbit and his new learning. An author's note discusses the origins of the traditional tale found in many different cultures, and mentions that the author learned about it from a Lakota elder. In writing her book, she adds her own spin to what was then shared.

No comments:

Post a Comment