MARIANA AND THE MERCHILD

A FOLKTALE FROM CHILE

A resonant, evocative tale about a lonely woman and the child of the sea who becomes her dearest companion. Mariana, an old woman, lives by the sea that is a mother to her, providing her with food for the table, driftwood for her fire, and music for her soul. But she is lonely, for the village children mock her and run away. One day after a wild storm when the sea-wolves prowl, she finds a crab shell; within it is a tiny merchild, with pearly skin and hair “the color of the setting sun.” Mariana, at the advice of the Wise Woman, places the merbaby where her mother, the Sea Spirit, can see she is safe; every day the Sea Spirit comes to feed her daughter and to teach her. Mariana cares for her the rest of the time, even though she knows the merchild must eventually return to the sea. The village children come to play with the merchild, and warm to Mariana. When the merchild does finally rejoin her mother, she returns daily to Mariana with gifts and greetings. Conveyed in the emotionally rich telling are the rhythm of waves, filial devotion, the loving care of children, and the knowledge of beasts. The beautiful illustrations are full of the laps and curves of the ocean, the brilliant colors of sea and sky, and the gorgeous reds and dusky browns of fabric, interiors, skin tones, and shells. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8028-5204-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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AT BREAK OF DAY

A lovely and poetic recasting of the Biblical creation story in a modern spirit, from the versatile Grimes (My Man Blue, p. 721, etc.). Father and son create together, beginning “Once upon a time there was no time.” There are whimsical touches, e.g., the father calls the waters seas because he likes the sound of it; the stars are made of the son’s laughter, and some of them are angels in disguise. Adam and Eve appear in shimmering silhouette, and the final view of the earth echoes the glorious photographs taken from space. Morin’s illustrations make use of fabulous textures in paint and fabric; his dense collages in their dark jeweled colors include shells, beads, and needlework. Other contemporary creation stories, such as Julius Lester’s What a Truly Cool World and Caitl°n Matthews’s The Blessing Seed (both, 1998) could be used with this one for a tender trilogy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8028-5104-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM

Old MacDonald had a farm, and on his farm animals pop up, wiggle, and roll their eyeballs. This hilarious paper-engineered version of the classic song will engage readers of all ages. The illustrations are amiable cartoons, while the mechanics of the pop-ups are superb. Old MacDonald’s tractor shakes its rear tires; a row of hungry cows roll their eyes and chew their cuds with enthusiasm. Not only are the movements funny, but the pull-tabs are tough—this book was designed to handle heavy use—and will probably survive even library circulation. (Pop-up. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30129-X

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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