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by Gillian Lobel & illustrated by Karin Littlewood

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8075-5273-5
Publisher: Whitman

A formal text is enhanced by sweeping watercolor paintings in this odd tale of a young swan’s first journey south just prior to the onset of winter. Moonshadow spends a lot of time with his grandfather, who leads and protects all the younger swans in their southward trip. At first all goes well. While the younger swans rest one night, they experience the aurora borealis. Later in the trip, however, a fierce storm strikes, and Moonshadow learns that his grandfather has been lost. His father will now lead the flock, he says matter-of-factly, and Moonshadow will always have the comfort of the memory of his grandmother. Littlewood resists the urge to anthropomorphize. Lush paintings, mostly double-page spreads, depict liquid landscapes with mostly undifferentiated swans, although Moonshadow is distinctive in juvenile gray. Beautiful, moody endpapers are swaths of color. Although the paintings are lovely and convey a sense of movement and physical space, this is not a necessary purchase. (Picture book. 6-9)