THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T OBEY

A MAYAN LEGEND

In mythology, disobeying the gods is generally a Bad Idea, but in this retold Mayan tale it leads to a happy ending. Deciding that he needs a new servant, rain god Chac snatches a lad known (except to Chac, of course) for his willfulness. An ensuing series of mishaps culminates in the boy's expropriation of Chac’s thunder, lightning, rain, and wind—all of which run destructively wild. Infuriated, Chac blasts the boy back where he came from, the net result being a joyful family reunion. Rockwell (Show and Tell Day, 2000) draws motifs and details from classical Mayan art for her brightly colored, page-filling scenes, and depicts Chac as a comic figure, green-haired, covered in blue scales, with a long handlebar mustache waving beneath an oversized nose. This story has not appeared in picture-book form since Betty Baker's No Help at All, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (1978), and like several more recently recast Mayan myths, reveals a lighter side to a mysterious, little-known culture. (introduction, source notes) (Picture book/folktale. 79)

Pub Date: April 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-14881-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN

A beautiful tribute to the uniqueness of every child: “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ ” The wind and the rain whispered the new babe’s name, causing animals all over the world to rejoice. And if ever that child thinks that he is unloved, all he need do is listen to the wind and look around at nature—they will remind him of just how special and loved he is. New parents and grandparents will get teary as they celebrate with the author the wonder and marvel that is their newborn baby, while young listeners will be thrilled at being the center of creation’s attention. Neither group will notice the uneven rhyme scheme employed in the text or the failure of the author to carry through in encouraging parent and child to interact. The focus will be on the paint-and-collage illustrations, rich in color and incorporating words from the text. Perfect for lap sharing with a beloved little one. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-9765761-0-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Darling Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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