(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

In Walk Two Moons, Mrs. Partridge, Margaret Cadaver’s mother, leaves messages on Phoebe Winterbottom’s porch. The first of these messages reads, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” As Salamanca tells Phoebe’s story, she walks in Phoebe’s moccasins, and she learns not only about Phoebe but about herself as well. She declares that “beneath Phoebe’s story was another one. Mine.”

The two primary themes in Walk Two Moons, separation and love, are strongly intertwined. The first theme, separation, reflects the basic developmental task of adolescence: separation from the mother. Creech clarifies this theme for readers with Sal’s memories of her dog, Moody Blue. She remembers how Moody Blue would not let anyone touch its litter of puppies during the first week after their birth. Gradually, the dog allowed its puppies to be touched but would always carefully herd them back. When they were six weeks old, however, Moody Blue pushed them away. Sal thought that Moody Blue was terrible, but her mother explained the dog’s behavior by telling Sal, “They have to become independent. What if something happened to Moody Blue? They wouldn’t know how to survive without her.”

Walk Two Moons examines the related themes of separation and love through the stories of Salamanca, Phoebe, and, to a lesser extent, Ben. Their mothers have all left home, either temporarily or permanently, and, as Salamanca gives voice to her own thoughts and experiences or tells her grandparents the story of Phoebe, readers come to...

(The entire section is 653 words.)