Hello readers, I hope your Monday is off to a great start! Today I have my review of WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren up (my first MG on the blog!) and a giveaway. Enjoy!
Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.
Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?
Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.
It seems these days I’m giving a lot more 5 owls than I used to…keep the good books coming, y’all!
A while back, I had the honor of connecting with author Gayle Rosengren, thanks to Dahlia Adler! When Gayle received ARCs of her MG book, WHAT THE MOON SAID, she sent me one.
I was apprehensive at first about reading this book. It’s not the type of book I’d normally pick up these days, but on the back cover it said that fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder would love it and her books were some of my favorite books growing up–so much so that I found & bought a set of classic paperbacks–so I said, what the heck and started reading.
After part of a flight and a bus ride later, I’d finished reading WHAT THE MOON SAID. I have to say the ending brought tears to my eyes and had me underlining so many sentences because they were beautiful and rang so true! WHAT THE MOON SAID is one of those books that sneak up on you. At first, it was kinda slow, not really but as someone who reads mostly speci-fic MG when I do read MG, there wasn’t a big beginning. In fact, I had to stop at one point and recalibrate myself so to say as a way of “getting in the zone” because I was reading something different and I didn’t want to discredit the book because it didn’t fit into a genre it never promised to fit in to. After that, I was hooked.
Esther, the protagonist, deals a lot with her not believing that her mother loves her for she doesn’t show the same affection that she sees other mothers showing their daughters. When I was little, I used to think my mom hated me…that something was wrong with me because I felt she loved my younger brother more, other moms would kiss and hug their daughters and mine didn’t. Until I realized, one day, that she really does love me it’s just that as the oldest daughter she put a lot of stress and expectations on me because she wanted my life to be easier than hers was. Like Esther, I was the child who was most likely to not listen to her, I was the mischievous one. It wasn’t until I accepted that my mom would never be like other moms and those other moms weren’t as perfect as they seemed that I was able to see the many ways that my mom loves me…and though she still isn’t one to declare her love every day like I do, we’ve gotten closer because of it.
That’s what drew me to Esther and her story. It was so much like mine and I was so sure children would relate to it because childhood is that time during which we wonder things like that because we’re so raw and open. It’s beautiful in some weird way and Gayle managed to capture that with her book. The end was so satisfying because though I found myself wondering what would happen to Esther, I was comforted that she’d turn out all right because I did.
Also, the wanting a dog bit…so my life, my dad was actually the anti-dog one. I had one when I was little, but he ran away (my mom thinks my dad let him out). Now that my dad has a farm out in “Texas farm country” he has two, LOL. And I LOVED reading about Esther’s love for Louisa May Alcott’s books, favorites of mine, and the Nancy Drew series, another favorite, which were just coming out when Esther was little!
I wanted to leave you with this quote from Esther. It’s one of those things that everyone has to learn sooner or later:
Home was more than a place. Home was family.
And with that, I hope you’re always able to find or build a home for yourself as Esther’s story truly does prove that home is everlasting as long as you’re with the ones you love and that love is more than just saying I love you, the actions of those around you, not the words, are what’s most important.
**I received the book to read & review from the author, Gayle Rosengren (thank you!!). This is a 100% honest review.**
Because I loved WHAT THE MOON SAID so much (& because my ARC has my scribbles everywhere) I’m giving away 1 hardcover copy of WHAT THE MOON SAID.
It’s open to U.S. & international residents (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)
About the Author
Gayle grew up in Chicago. Like Esther, she enjoyed school, was an avid reader, and loved dogs and horses. She attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where she majored in Creative Writing and was the editor of the literary magazine. Gayle never outgrew her passion for children’s books, and she worked as a children’s and young adult librarian at a public library for several years in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, enthusiastically sharing her love of books with young people.
Also like Esther, Gayle eventually moved to Wisconsin, but by then she was a mother with three children. She worked in the reference library, and later as a copy-editor, at American Girl. During this time period she published short stories for children in Cricket, Ladybug, Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest magazines.
Now Gayle writes full-time in her home just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband, Don, and slightly neurotic rescue dog, Fiona. Gayle is living her dream, she says, writing books she hopes will make the same difference in children’s lives as her favorite books and authors made in hers. What the Moon Said is her first novel.
Esther loves to read Louisa May Alcott’s books & the Nancy Drew series, what’s your favorite childhood book(s)?