Book Reviews

Book Reviews: Moana, adapted by Suzanne Francis


This book was purchased for my niece.


This is the story of Moana, a young woman who braves the ocean beyond the reefs that surround her island home. The land is dying and the fish are gone. Legend says that if the Heart of Te Fiti is restored to its proper place, then things will return to normal. With the help of a disgraced demi-god, and a rooster who’s a few eggs short of a dozen, Moana is determined to return the Heart to Te Fiti. From coconut warriors, to the great crab Tamatoa, and sentient lava, Moana faces many challenges on her quest, yet the greatest is getting Maui to agree to help her.


Seeing that this book is a novelisation of a movie created by Disney, it comes as no surprise that similar elements may crop up. To wit- Tala and Moana’s journey of the ship cavern reminded me of Rafiki and Simba going to the hidden pool. Gramma Tala herself is very Rafiki-like with her eccentric behaviour.


   ”Why are you acting weird,” asked Moana


”I’m the village crazy lady. It’s my job,” replied Gramma Tala.


Gramma Tala is awesome!


I love that this book (and movie) showcased a strong and determined female lead, with no love interests at all. Strong female leads are rare in Disney, and even those that immediately come to mind (Mulan, Princess and the Frog) had some sort of romantic theme. In addition, this is a tale focusing on an oft ignored subset of humanity- Oceania. I was so happy when the movie came out because it combined all of these wonderful elements in one movie.


There were minor misspellings, leaving letters out (ex: through becomes though), and homophone errors. They were few, but I feel  the distinction is important for younger readers who may pick up erroneous associations.
???? Highly recommended.

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