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JOURNEY OF THE NIGHTLY JAGUAR by Burton Albert

JOURNEY OF THE NIGHTLY JAGUAR

By Burton Albert (Author) , Robert Roth (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-689-31905-3
Publisher: Atheneum

 The setting sun and raindrops become a jaguar at night, stalking in the jungle, in this story inspired by the markings on a terracotta urn made by the Mayans sometime between the seventh and tenth centuries a.d. Albert (Where Does the Trail Lead?, 1991, etc.) notes in the introduction that the Mayans believed the gods sometimes took the form of animals. In the main text, the jaguar hunts at night, becomes the morning sun, and rises a glorious red. This book will puzzle all but the most precocious of readers; it is hard to figure out what's happening from the text and illustrations. The poetic text sometimes strings a sentence over as many as six pages, pushing readers forward, while dreamy scenes of soft pink, purple, and green watercolors and torn, textured paper draw readers in for careful looking. Yet to pause over a painting is to lose the sense of the text, already complicated by difficult phrases such as ``luring the creature on his journey of return.'' The book is visually interesting but not successful as a story nor poetic meditation. (Picture book. 7-9)