Meet Me At the Moon
By Gianna Marino
Love, it seems, is as much of an unspoken promise in the animal kingdom as it is in the land of mammals – and just as binding. And in Ms. Marino’s “Meet Me at the Moon” she provides children with a gentle primer in the art of self soothing which all children must learn sooner or later when separated from the primary focus of their young lives – their parents.
Under the shade of the baobab tree (love that word which I can still recall from my grammar school geography text books), Mama elephant with a loving nuzzle, informs Little One she must leave for a time climbing the highest mountain to ask the skies for rain. You can imagine what sort of response that draws – “But Mama, I don’t want you to go.” This is familiar emotional territory for parent and child.
Immediately comes a flood of “what ifs” and “how will I” questions. Her Little One’s legitimate concerns are addressed with the quiet reassurance and instruction that her Mama’s presence and love are really never far away. Where to look for them is the key. They both, for instance, may be felt as mother and child look at the same star in the evening sky, Mama reminds her small one – or not so small one!
Find the brightest star, Little One. If we both look at the same star, it will be as if we are seeing each other.
The backdrop Ms. Marino has chosen for her book may perhaps be a plain on the Serengeti, but the highly relatable territory is in the wider general vicinity of the heart of the parent/child relationship. And she has captured the back and forth beautifully in lush, lyrical Q and A between one who must leave for a time and one who must stay.
Whether listening to the wind as a reminder of her Mama’s voice or the permanence of love affirmed in the ever-constant warmth of the sun as a metaphoric reminder of the constancy of her love and affection filtering down, the book cleverly allow hints in nature to provide an echo of the ties that bind, no matter the distance.
And even when the sun, wind and stars cannot provide comfort due to an overcast sky, their pre- established meeting place, filled with Little One’s calling song, is fully answered in kind by Mama in their “meeting at the moon” with its lit path providing a perfect and poignant reunion.
Ms. Marino’s book is soothing, satisfying and very savvy on what sometimes is most valued – the inexpressible love between parent and child.
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