Moon and Sun by Melinda Szymanik
Moon knows she can never be as bright, warm and beloved as her sister, Sun. She hides away, shy and sad, only coming out at night. But maybe Moon is more important than she realises.
This new picture book by Melinda Szymanik is utterly beautiful. She explores and explains how our differences are our strengths and how together we can make the world a better place. Szymanik conveys the story in the minimum of words, creating a poetic tale of the Moon and the Sun.
Younger readers will be introduced to unfamiliar language - words like blossoms, gaze, slumber - in this gentle story.
The illustrations in this story, by Malene Laugesen, are stunning. The illustrator draws her inspiration from fairy tales, dreams, the architecture of Europe, and New Zealand's nature. Her work in this book is as beautiful as those inspirations sound. The dreamy warm shimmer of Sun and the deep moods of Moon depict the characters even more than Szymanik's words.
This book inspired my children and I. For older readers, it will serve as a great jumping point to further explore seasons, the Gregorian and lunar calendars, and even mātauranga Māori (as an aside, I'd love to see this translated into te reo Māori). We were also drawn to pull out the art supplies, using Laugesen's artwork as inspiration to create our own lunar and solar scenes.
Personifying the sun and the moon - two objects that have captivated mankind forever and that every child knows - is a poetic and effective way of conveying such an important message.
The overarching message is one that is so important. Our children need to know that we all have different strengths and abilities, and that we are better together.
Moon and Sun is a gorgeous, gentle story that will inspire and delight every reader.
Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell
Upstart Press, RRP $19.99