Run! Oongly Moongly!
by Thanmolie K Vellasamy
Partridge Publishing Singapore

"This time I must do it right, she thought. 'Don’t worry! I will find you a new home,' said Meena gently."

Meena is an inquisitive little girl who is surprised and delighted to find a colorful caterpillar crawling on the flowers on the table by her breakfast food. She immediately decides to take responsibility for the caterpillar, taking it outside to find it a home in the garden. Naming it Oongly Moongly, Meena places it among the leaves of a bush in its natural environment. She is dismayed the next morning when she hears the gardener in the backyard with his trimmer by the same bush that she gave Oongly Moongly for a home. Oongly Moongly is saved this time, but a series of hazardous events causes the caterpillar almost to become food for the local wildlife, and in a near miss, Oongly Moongly loses its beautiful caterpillar colors. Meena tries numerous ways to keep the caterpillar safe but continues to fail. When her little brother joins in the attempt to bring Oongly Moongly’s colors back, they find success together.

Through the life of a caterpillar pupa, Vellasamy has created a story of a child who recognizes another’s need and how her response brings about both calamity and eventual success. The author has built the character of Meena upon both a child’s curiosity and the ability to see and provide what others may need to survive. From finding Oongly Moongly a home to releasing an imperiled bird from netting, Meena is gaining an understanding of the creatures who live within her backyard environment and how they depend upon each for life. Through Meena’s determination to keep Oongly Moongly alive, Vellasamy provides a lesson in sharing a part of oneself to help another find the basics needed for survival and growth in a chaotic world.

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