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Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai'i

Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai'i

by Jama Kim Rattigan (Retold by), Carla Golembe (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like her Dumpling Soup, Rattigan's newest tale is a bridge from Hawaii to the mainland-transporting tasty bits of the native language and culture. This tale, however, substitutes the contemporary warmth of Rattigan's first title with a somewhat lengthy retelling of a Polynesian myth. A woman named Hina makes such superb tapa (bark cloth), that she is always working to meet the demands of her neighbors and tyrannical husband. Hina longs to escape her joyless life, going first to a mountaintop which is too cold, to the sun which is too hot, and finally to the moon, where she remains to this day. Golembe's (Why the Sky Is Far Away) primitivist gouache paintings energize the story with eye-popping colors and patterns derived from ancient tapa design and Hawaiian wildlife. An offering useful for its perspective on a culture underrepresented in the picture book genre. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Rattigan retells the Hawaiian legend of the woman in the moon. Hina is known to make the best tapa cloth in the islands. Her work is in great demand, and she receives no help from her husband. Many activities are forbidden to her because she is a woman. She longs for a new home where she can have the leisure to enjoy the beautiful world around her. Her search takes her to the top of a high mountain and to a rainbow. Finally, she is able to reach the moon. From there, as a goddess, she inspires Hawaiian artists, young and old. Rattigan's language is rich and concrete. The story has not been watered down for children and, as such, gives insight into the culture from which it springs. It reflects the roles of men and women in this society and shows a high regard for artists. Rattigan incorporates many Hawaiian words into the text, which adds to its flavor. Golembe's gouache paintings are flat in style and brightly colored, edged with patterns and figures used to decorate traditional tapa cloth. A glossary, an author's note, and sources are included. An interesting and striking addition to folklore collections.-Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
An embellished retelling—subtitled "A Story from Hawai'i" and rooted in Hawaiian mythology—by Rattigan (Dumpling Soup, 1993) of how the woman goddess Hina came to live in her true home in this alternative to the man-in-the-moon concept.

Hina, maker of tapa, a kind of bark cloth, is dissatisfied with her demanding husband and the amount of work required in making tapa for the entire village. She chooses to leave the place where so many things are "kapu," or forbidden to women, and journeys up an icy mountain peak and to the hot sun before climbing a rainbow to the moon. The telling of the story is rambling, and even disjointed at times. An emphasis given to the making and use of tapa, skillfully woven into the story, provides insight into a little-known aspect of ancient Hawaiian culture, but doesn't work as a central plot device. As a result, the story falls short of a satisfying outcome. Both tapa-making and the setting provide attractive motifs for Golembe's primitive artwork, deliberately evoking Gaugin, and rendered in gouache with sea urchin purples and hibiscus pinks as delectable as spun sugar.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.57(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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