Little Penguin's Moon 小企鹅的月亮

written and (being) illustrated by 易Linda

Target age: Toddler to Preschool

Status: First manuscript and thumbnail images created. Shared with the toddlers and preschoolers at Panda Cub. Not certain if I will go forward with wider publication (details below) but would LOVE advice/feedback!


The Inspiration:

In a word: magical

Little Penguin's Moon was inspired by a poem we were teaching our students at Panda Cub Academy. During indoor exercise time, we would dim the lights and hands each child a small flashlight. Together, we would shine bright lights onto ceilings and walls and hum along to Libai's poem put to song (see video below). Beautiful music to beautiful words - which evoke for many the experience of being far from home and, in a single sudden moment, aware of this fact. That night, I looked online for a version of this music... and found this below video:

There it was: the words, the melody and the... animation?

My 1st thought: Oh lord.

My 2nd thought: I can do better.

My 3rd thought: Hmm... I wonder what would happen if I gave Libai's "静夜思" poem a backstory?


Thus Little Penguin's Moon was born.


The Story:

Once upon a time, in a land of ice and snow... there lived a little penguin. Here she is! (Say Hello!)

mockup book spread from thumbnail images.  Click image to see all story panels.

mockup book spread from thumbnail images. Click image to see all story panels.

Meet Little Penguin, the fuzzy feathered heroine of our story.  Find her in her home - that land of ice and snow - and board a bright red boat to follow her to distant lands. Will Little Penguin ever find herself back home?

The Feedback:

I've shared this - Bilingually - with my students at Panda Cub.  Here's a snippet of my diary entry from that day:

"Read this (bilingually in English and Mandarin) today!! Great experience though I was nervous as hell-o. Oh dear. I still feel bad about swearing… Must be the preschool teacher in me rearing her prim head. Joking aside, a wonderful day. The kids were rapt, and didn’t seem to notice that my voice shook a bit. I was so scared they’d think it was boring… But this afternoon, W and B came up to me and asked me to read it again! And later that afternoon, when we were singing the song version of the Tang poem, some of my students shone their flashlights into the ceiling and the floor, and began exclaiming: it’s snow! It’s frost! Happiness. Total happiness. This is why I want to write and illustrate. Remember this. "

What YOU can do :)

  • If you like the direction I'm going in, every bit of positive feedback helps! Drop me an email below even if it's just to leave a smiley face:)
  • If you want a copy of the mockup pdf, I'd be happy to send you a printable version.  Keep in mind that this is just the first version and forgive the pencil marks and thumbnail quality drawing!


Learning Curves:

This was my first attempt at writing text for a toddler/preschool age. I'm still learning to look at my work with "child's eyes" in addition to my own. Even now, I tend to read Little Penguin's moon and see the story as "too simple". Predictable. Not much action.  And this is true.  The next thing I make I want to bring back the element of mystery and magic I enjoyed so much as a kid.

On the other hand, I've learned that I can't always predict what children like. Despite me fearing the story would be boring, my children still enjoyed it.  I've learned that a big part of a successful storybook is also the ability of the storyteller.  What other ways can I explore the role of storyteller beyond the 2 dimensional

I'm not certain if I want to publish this first project (the perfectionist/artist in me feels like this isn't my best work). However, I've been learning to share work in progress. Even if this particular story doesn't "make it big" - I'm proud of it all the same.