@BigMoBook Book Review: Little Moon by Megan Padalecki

Many people underestimate the privilege of being a book reviewer. Books are deeply personal to authors because the words they select reflect their souls. To share something that is born in your heart is a selfless gift that authors provide. Books become part of the societal fabric and an enduring legacy to the authors.

Children’s book authors are charged with an additional responsibility. The tales they weave will mold our next generations and arguably be ingrained in their minds. Classics by celebrated children’s book authors fed the imaginations of earlier generations and still wield incredible influence today.

San Antonio native Megan Padalecki secured her place in the children’s book world with the release last year of her debut effort, Big Mo. The former architect also served as its illustrator, a dual blessing for a slew of grateful readers who devoured both the story and the exquisite images that honored the story. From Big Mo, we were taught to reconcile a need for overconsumption when that need jeopardizes the natural landscape. Padalecki became a sensation on the book touring circuit and in classrooms where she visited. In addition, she amassed critical acclaim and industry accolades. Big Mo was a National Indie Excellence Award winner for Best Picture Book.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Padalecki about her writing journey. What I discovered is that she is an extremely creative, extremely intelligent and extremely sensitive author and illustrator. She is aware of the power of children’s books and is grateful to be able to contribute to this genre.

Her second book, Little Moon, continues Padalecki’s tradition of excellence. Rather than provide a sequel to Big Mo’s story, Padalecki introduced readers to a new character and message. With Big Mo, we saw a lovable pet iguana burdened by an insatiable appetite. One of the positive messages conveyed by Big Mo was preservation of natural resources and to try to curb a desire for excess. In Little Moon, we meet a lovable squid who must navigate the vast and mysterious ocean creatures she faces. Little Moon is that representation of life as a mystery and that recognition of our uniqueness and courage as we carve out positions in this world. The social creature thrust amongst the uncertainties of the ocean floor might crave validation and acceptance, yet she must begin by learning to love herself first. That is, perhaps, life’s pledge to all of us. Acceptance by others is that secondary reward. Accepting ourselves is paramount.

Megan Padalecki has an author’s voice that is authentic and embracing. Her prose reveals that she respects a child’s curiosity for discovery.

Little Moon inherited the largesse of its predecessor, Big Mo, as an engaging and informative literary treasure. As important, Padalecki skillfully succeeded in introducing a new character to be welcomed into reader’s hearts.