Picture Book Reviews: Follow the Moon Home & Tell Me a Tattoo Story

FOLLOWMOONHOME25861925 Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, illus. Meilo So
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: April 5, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Verdict: Very Good
Book Description:

Acclaimed activist Philippe Cousteau and renowned author Deborah Hopkinson team up to offer a story of the powerful difference young people can make in the world. Meet Viv, who has a new home and a new school by the sea, and follow her as she finds her way in a new place and helps bring together a whole community to save the sea turtles of the South Carolina coast.

A beautiful informational picture book inspired by the work of volunteers helping sea turtles, Follow the Moon Home is a terrific tale that mixes environmental education and  social responsibility for children (and adults) in a moving and hopeful story one young girl’s quest to aid the plight of sea turtles.

Written by Philippe Cousteau (grandson of renowned explorer Jacques Cousteau) and noted children’s author Deborah Hopkinson, with beautiful artwork by Water Sings Blue illustrator Meilo So, Follow the Moon Home provides a number of great learning opportunities (without ever shouting doom and gloom of the ecosystem). So’s illustrations here are as effective, charming and vivid as ever: radiant and cheerful, her work functions as a perfect backdrop to the more informative and detailed story by Cousteau and Hopkinson.

Overall, a lovely and affecting picture book that will finds its audience in readers who love stories about sea life and turtles, as well as those readers (young and old) looking for picture books which inspire ecological awareness and ideas for conservation. Be sure to check out the back pages at the end of the story- starting with ‘Letter to Young Activists‘ and beyond- there are so many wonderful extras and informational links tucked in there! In my own work as a children’s librarian, I am seeing an increase in requests for preschool-age materials on topics ranging from activism and community connections to concerns over ecology and natural disasters. Great books such as Follow the Moon Home are part of this growing library of much-needed titles in the informational picture book and non-fiction picture book genre.


TELLMETATTOOSTORY25861929Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illus. Eliza Wheeler
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: April 12, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Verdict: Very Good
Book Description:

A bestselling author-illustrator duo join forces to create a modern father-son love story. The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. There’s a tattoo from a favorite book his mother used to read him, one from something his father used to tell him, and one from the longest trip he ever took. And there is a little heart with numbers inside—which might be the best tattoo of them all. Tender pictures by New York Times bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler complement this lovely ode to all that’s indelible—ink and love.

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, skillfully written by award-winning author Alison McGhee (Someday) and perfectly illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Wherever You Go), is a gentle, sweet and ultimately refreshing take on father-son love.

I first began hearing/reading about this picture book online (on Twitter, among other places) as Tell Me a Tattoo Story is one of the few picture books that has tattoos as a feature/starting off point in its story. While you see more and more books (yay!) that illustrate the diversity in families, you don’t often see a picture book with body art featured on parents/caregivers. Here, in the hands of the totally capable McGhee and Wheeler, everything just works to bring about a meaningful and heartwarming story. At the request of his young son, dad takes his son on a nostalgic journey, talking about the stories behind some of his tattoos. Starting with a revisit to his own childhood reading The Hobbit with his mom, to meeting the young boy’s mom, to his service duty overseas, and ending with a tattoo commemorating the birth of his ‘little man’, Tell Me a Tattoo story is at once a unique and universal read.

Overall, Tell Me a Tattoo story is an engaging take on a parent-child relationship, as well as a story that works beautifully as a goodnight read. McGhee’s wonderfully restrained text and diction here is just right; her text allows for Wheeler’s mesmerizing and softy dazzling artwork to really parlay the scope and meaning of each of the tattoo’s stories. I’ve now read this picture book multiple times, and each time I find myself growing more and more fond of it!

I received copies of Follow the Moon Home and Tell Me a Tattoo Story courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Reference & Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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