Title: When the Moon is a Smile
Author: Teena Raffa-Mulligan
Illustrator: Amy Calautti
Published: June 1st 2019
Publisher: Daisy Lane Publishing
Genres: Children – 4+
Rating: 4.5 stars
“Don’t go, Daddy!”
It’s the plea that tugs at the heart of every loving father whose child no longer shares his everyday life due to a relationship breakdown.
For a young child, accepting how things have changed once parents live apart can be difficult.
When ‘Daddy time’ is occasional instead of constant, saying goodbye for now can be the hardest part of spending time together.
In this gentle story about the special bond between a little girl and her father, the fun of sharing a day imagining everyday activities into extraordinary adventures turns to sadness when it is time for him to leave.
Tears turn to acceptance with the promise that Daddy will soon return — and there is a special way to know when that will be.
A heart-warming family story from the author of Who Dresses God? and True Blue Amigos and Friends.
‘Watch the moon. It will show you with its changing face. Tonight, it looks like a smile in the sky.’
The author of When the Moon is a Smile, Teena Raffa-Mulligan, has composed a touching tribute to her grandson in her latest picture book. A tender book, which goes a long way in helping young children recognise and manage their emotions after parental separation, When the Moon is a Smile is a sentimental tale that will melt your heart.
One of the hardest moments in a child’s life is dealing with the pain of parental separation. It is difficult for young children to navigate the process of separation, as they try to understand why they can no longer have the two people they love the most in their life at the same time. Often their protests when one parent has to leave can be agonising and distressful for all parties. Author Teena Raffa-Mulligan has recognised this common situation and she has devised a picture book that helps a young child to understand that although their parents may live separately, they are still loved. When the Moon is a Smile explores the emotions, feelings and experiences of the visits a child may have with their father. In the case of the young girl in this book, the visits she has with her father have been shortened and he no longer lives with her. She cherishes their day trips, but this short lived happiness turns into sadness when she has to say goodbye. Fear of the unknown plays heavily on the child’s mind as she worries about when she will see her dear father again. Thankfully, with a beautiful analogy, using the moon as a reference point, the young girl is reassured that her dad will come back to her – she just needs to put her faith in the night sky.
When the Moon is a Smile is a truly wonderful family based story. There is a clear need to provide ways to help children to label and manage their emotions when dealing with relationship or marriage breakdowns. When the Moon is a Smile is a book that I would highly recommend for use in the home, school or childcare setting to assist young children to find an outlet for their emotions at a difficult time in their lives. I think this book could also be utilised very effectively for children who may have parents that work away, or those who are in the defence forces serving our country. This book would provide both comfort and reassurance that their feelings are absolutely valid.
I adored the illustrations in When the Moon is a Smile. Each page illustration was bursting with vitality. Amy Calautti has taken the time to align her watercolour designs with Teena Raffa-Mulligan gentle story. There are some stunning tones to this book and Calautti balances both the joy in life with her bright colour choices in the happy moments, to the softer muted blue tones of the reflective moments in this novel. I really embraced the night sky page overlays in this book, they were stunning to the eye and worked to elevate the story at hand.
A love between a child and their parent, impacted by separation, is carefully portrayed on the pages of this sympathetic and embracing picture book. When the Moon is a Smile is a book to hold dear, it encourages readers of all ages to hug their loved ones just that bit tighter and gaze at the moon together in harmony.
When the Moon is a Smile by Teena Raffa-Mulligan was published on June 1st 2019 by Daisy Lane Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about Books On Tour visit here.
To learn more about the author of When the Moon is a Smile, Teena Raffa-Mulligan visit here.
* I wish to thank Daisy Lane Publishing and Books On Tour for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
When the Moon is a Smile is book #79 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge
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