Moonshadow's Journey

Moonshadow's Journey

by Gillian Lobel, Karin Littlewood

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For the very first time, young Moonshadow is flying south. Grandfather is leading the swans as they travel to a warm place for the winter. But when a terrible storm strikes, not all the swans make it through. Though his heart is heavy, Moonshadow finds the strength to continue the journey.
Gillian Lobel’s beautifully written tale deals gently with… See more details below


For the very first time, young Moonshadow is flying south. Grandfather is leading the swans as they travel to a warm place for the winter. But when a terrible storm strikes, not all the swans make it through. Though his heart is heavy, Moonshadow finds the strength to continue the journey.
Gillian Lobel’s beautifully written tale deals gently with loss and bereavement, while Karin Littlewood’s enchanting paintings create a memorable world for young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Summer Whiting
Moonshadow is about to make his first journey south for the winter, along with his father and mother. Grandfather will be leading the flock. Moonshadow listens intently for directions and takes off as his grandfather shouts instructions. His wings tire quickly and his neck is strained. He is relieved to feel the weight of his mother and father pushing from beneath him. After a short break, the flock takes off again, only to encounter a storm. The next morning, Moonshadow looks for his grandfather to no avail. He had fallen in the night. Mother and Father surround him and remind Moonshadow that Grandfather is in his heart. No one can take him away and he will continue to live on forever. By the power of his mother's and father's love, Moonshadow is able to make the journey to find the warmth of the land and a peace in his heart. This book will help remind those who have lost loved ones that their love and spirit will continue to live on forever in the lives of those who loved them. Enchanting illustrations fill each page. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—Young Moonshadow embraces the wisdom and warmth of his grandfather before his family of swans prepares for a long and perilous journey south for the winter. Curious about the change that comes with migration, different seasons, and his ability to fly that far, the cygnet is comforted to learn that in years past his great grandfather successfully led the way to warmer lands. The flock's journey takes flight and they press on through day and night, stopping only when rest is needed. Moonshadow experiences the mesmerizing Northern Lights, the beauty of picturesque towns, and the dazzling sea speckled with islands. As his weaker and inexperienced wings flail through an unexpected and dangerous storm, his parents guide him to safety, only to find that Grandfather didn't make it. Moonshadow's father leads the flock to its destination, where it is explained to the youngster that he will someday lead as well. Lobel skillfully moves the plot forward while creating appropriate character development for Moonshadow, who copes with change and death. The subject matter is addressed with gentle purpose, especially the issue of "life cycle." Littlewood's combination of watercolors and gouache on textured paper of light and dark hues adds to the moods and movement of the book. The pictures capture the elements of nature in both harsh and calm circumstances. A few well-crafted, subtle metaphors provide this captivating title with real substance. The illustrations combine perfectly with outstanding storytelling.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
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)

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Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
11 MB
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Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Moonshadow's Journey

By Gillian Lobel, Karin Littlewood


Copyright © 2009 Gillian Lobel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-5273-5


High above the earth flew the swans. White wings feathered the wind, and the air was loud with their joyful cries. "Going south!" they said. "To the warm sun and the green fields." Moonshadow shivered with excitement as he watched, snuggled up close to his grandfather.

"When are we going, Grandfather?" he asked. "Very soon, Moonshadow!" said Grandfather. "But where are we all going?" "To warm lands, Little One; it is much too cold for us here in the winter." "Will I-will I be able to fly that far?" Moonshadow wondered

"Yes, my Little One. I will lead you, by sun and stars, as my father did before me." Gently Grandfather nibbled at Moonshadow's feathers. And Moonshadow knew that everything would be all right.

Suddenly, from the North, a fierce, cold wind blew. The flock stirred, beating their wings and straining their necks. "Now!" cried Grandfather. "The time is right!" And he began the strong, slow run to take off, his wings beating the air. Moonshadow ran like the wind ...

And then he was up, up, and away, high in the blue, leaving the icy marshes below him.

He flew close to his mother and father, lifted on the strong upbeat of the circling wings. All through the night they flew, pale shadows in the moonlight, over the cold brown lands, through the stinging snowflakes, on, on, never stopping.


Excerpted from Moonshadow's Journey by Gillian Lobel, Karin Littlewood. Copyright © 2009 Gillian Lobel. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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