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Disney's 'Moana' sails into bookstores

Posted November 23

Straight from the ocean isle of Motunui, Disney’s newest princess, Moana, is sweeping in to fill printed pages with her story.

Set to be released the day before Thanksgiving, the animated feature “Moana,” tells the story of an island-bound girl whose heart yearns to explore the ocean.

Moana is the daughter of a powerful chief. Even when she was small, Moana was drawn to the ocean, despite the chief’s many efforts to discourage her. Now, training to one day lead the village, Moana is astounded when she learns of a dark force which is slowly killing everything that grows on the island. Remembering a prophecy of one who will journey to restore the stolen heart of Ta Fiti and bring healing to the world, Moana sets out to find the demigod hero Maui, who can make that happen so her island home will be saved.

Moana’s story is perhaps too much to be contained on just the big screen because Disney Press has allowed Moana’s tale to tumble onto the pages of a collection of printed works so that explorers of all ages can enjoy her adventures.

Moana and the Ocean,” by Heather Knowles, Disney, $16.99, ages 3-5

"Moana and the Ocean" is a 32-page picture book highlighting simple moments from Moana’s life and her relationship with the ocean. The book offers easy text with no more than a few words per page, which makes it a good fit for many beginning readers. The illustrations are fluid and inviting, sharing the heart of Moana’s journey without all the detail of the full story. Moana’s kindness, courage and determination are at the center of this simple text.

"Moana Read-Along Storybook & CD," adapted by Bill Scollon, Disney, $6.99, ages 6-8

With a more detailed telling of Moana’s exploits, “Moana Read-Along Storybook and CD," adapted by Bill Scollon, brings the experiences of the island princess to life for readers' eyes and ears. The audio CD includes the voices of characters from the movie as well as sound effects and music to make the scenes come alive. This volume is built around illustrations taken directly from the film. The narration matches the text on the page so young readers can sit back and enjoy the story or follow along word for word.

"The Story of Moana: A Tale of Courage and Adventure," adapted by Kari Sutherland, Disney, $10.99, ages 9-12

Crafted to mimic the scenes from the movie, Disney has also released a middle grade chapter book called “The Story of Moana: A Tale of Courage and Adventure.” Adapted by Kari Sutherland, this 300-page book mirrors happenings from the movie in sequence. But because it is written to concisely describe visual events, there are times that the passages feel flat and dry. However, the book will likely engage mid-level readers who have an interest in Moana’s ocean escapades. The book also includes a set of temporary tattoos.

"Moana: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity," Disney, $15.99

The final book in this group has no words at all. But that is not out of order because it is a coloring book. “Moana: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity” is Disney’s answer to the current coloring craze. Depicting detailed images from all parts of Moana’s story, this book is full of raw material for anyone wielding crayons, markers or colored pencils. The pages burst with complicated black-and-white, Pacific island-inspired works and whimsical tattoo-style designs. The pictures are intricate and inviting, encouraging readers to bring their own creativity to the pages.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six children and lives in West Jordan, Utah. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com, and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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