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THE EARTH SHOOK by Donna Jo Napoli

THE EARTH SHOOK

By Donna Jo Napoli (Author) , Gabi Swiatkowska (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0448-3
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Human beings are so often vilified—justifiably—that it’s refreshing to find a story that juxtaposes our species’ finer qualities with its more monstrous ones. In this Persian-inspired tale (based on a 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran), Parisa desperately seeks the company of another human being when her village is destroyed. She knocks on door after door, but hostile animals now occupy any still-standing homes. Boar says, “Hands like grasping vines, you remind me of a hunter who threw spears at me. See these tusks? Run, or I’ll gore a hole through you.” Parisa contemplates her maligned hand, as a hunting scene hovers over Boar’s head, petroglyph-like. From Bear to Snake, the animals shame her into masking her offending parts. Eventually, however, Parisa casts off her disguises to walk “as a human child under the sun,” laughing, dancing and sharing with her now-benevolent animal friends. Swiatkowska’s extraordinary artwork—textured oil paintings, decorative designs, splendid palette and artfully spare compositions—adds power and beauty to the poetic text that echoes Rumi. A gorgeous, discussion-provoking read-aloud. (Picture book. 5-8)