If you haven’t become acquainted with the work of Gloria Whelan, you are missing out on a rare treat. She writes with a gentle beauty that makes reading feel effortless. Truly, every sentence is crafted so carefully, so vividly, that I float right through them. And she applies imagery as an artist applies color, adding depth and fullness to every scene. Her pages nearly breath.
Like myself, Ms. Whelan is a native of Michigan, and I especially appreciate her stories that take place within our state. Such is the case with Night Of The Full Moon. In 1840, large numbers of Potawatomi Indians from Michigan and Indiana were rounded up and moved to Kansas so white men might take their land. This is their story. It contains scenes of heartache and despair, but Ms. Whelan treads gently. She leaves her readers wondering how such a tragedy could have ever been sanctioned.
Night Of The Full Moonis only 62 pages of large type, easily understandable and appropriate for the youngest grades. I would guess third graders might read it independently, yet it still appealed greatly to my sixth-grader. I just read it to her, and to my third-grader, in two twenty-minute segments as part of our state history curriculum, but it’s of such high quality that we also made a literatary study out of it. Unfortunately, I did not know it is the second in a trilogy until we finished. The first book is the award-winning Next Spring An Oriole, and the last is Shadow Of The Wolf. They are next on our reading list. If they are anything like Full Moon, this series is truly a Michigan treasure.