“I just finished reading “So Much The Better” by Megan Means, and I am so much the better for having read it! What a great presentation of profoundly simple truths. It is a great read for all ages, a good story for parents to read even to younger children. It is filled with engaging characters who captivate and clearly communicate good core human values.” ~ Bill Hughes
“I was so blessed with Ari, his lovely friends, his journey in life and I came out the other side a better person from having read your book! It’s a gem and I really do mean that!” ~ Sharon Cultra
“SO MUCH THE BETTER” is a story about a small lion named Ari, who finds himself as a cub taken far away from the safety and security of his pride. He is lost, feeling alone and without hope until he encounters Eliezer, a golden eagle who befriends him. Together they begin the long journey back to his homeland with many challenges to overcome. Upon Ari’s return to his beloved pride, the excitement wells up within his heart as he thought his quest had finally come to an end, but he realized now, it had only just begun.
Throughout the chapters of this book we witness how Ari grows in wisdom, courage, confidence, self-control, purpose, determination, patience, self-esteem, joy, forgiveness, love, leadership, unity, and much more. While he is growing and learning he begins to impact in a powerful way the lives of those who meet him.
“SO MUCH THE BETTER” is a chapter book written for elementary age children but I have found the story also captures the hearts of all ages.
Enjoy this excerpt from “SO MUCH THE BETTER” …
Ari did not hear the lionesses calling. He kept running through the darkness with the wind howling in his ears urging him on and on. The violent wind lifted his tiny body and carried him far away until it mercilessly dropped him into a deep ravine. Ari slid down the rocky slope and slipped off the edge of a small cliff. He knocked his head against the trunk of a tree and collapsed to the ground, unconscious.
The next morning, as the small cub wearily opened his eyes, he looked up through the trees and squinted at the sun as it rose over the mountains. He lay very still. As he looked around him, he didn’t see anything at all that was familiar. Where were the other lions? Ari thought to himself. Why am I out alone in a part of the forest that I’ve never seen before? Ari began to sob as he dropped his head into his paws.
In the middle of his despair, the small cub heard a comforting voice coming from above him.
“Fear not and be of good cheer!”
Ari looked up into the tree that was beside him and saw an elegant eagle perched on its branches. The massive bird’s feathers radiated the sunlight, which cast a warm glow about him. His eyes were the color of amber and stared kindly at the little cub. As Ari gazed into these luminous eyes, a bit of hope returned to his heart, although the large size of the creature still sent a small chill down his spine.
“What is your name?” The eagle questioned.
He spread his wings, jumped down from the tree and landed abruptly in front of the cub. The sudden movement frightened Ari and he crouched back into the shadow of the trees.
“My name is Ari,” he said hesitantly.
The eagle’s head tilted to one side and he examined Ari for a moment.
“And I am Eliezer,” the eagle said.
“May I ask what such a small cub is doing alone in this part of the forest?”
“I…I don’t remember,” Ari stammered, moving farther back into the shadows as tears stung his eyes.
The eagle placed his face extremely close to Ari’s.
“You must remain steady, regardless of whatever happens around you, for this will be your strength.”
Ari looked at the eagle and nodded his head in agreement, unable to say a word. Eliezer relaxed his posture and flew back to his perch among the branches.
“I will help you. You are not alone,”
Ari hesitantly crept out from the shadows.
“I have just returned to these parts after being absent for some time, Ari. It appears as if the Black Wind has struck its gruesome ways once again. You must have become separated from your pride during the wind’s dark deed. Do you not remember?”
“No, I don’t.” Ari looked down.
“My head is hurting,” he whispered.
Eliezer realized the young cub must have injured himself during the windstorm.
Ari, you must get up and move to that small thicket of trees. You will find shade and you can rest in the brown leaves, which will hide you. I will return soon with breakfast. The cub obeyed the eagle’s instructions and settled into the thicket. Eliezer then made a high-pitched whistle.
“This is my call, listen for it.”
With those parting words, the eagle flew off gracefully, flapping his powerful wings through the sky, higher and higher until he caught a wind current and soared off into the distance. Ari lay down and quietly rested his head upon the leaves. He closed his eyes, wondering if he would ever see home again.