DESERT DECEMBER by Dorian Haarhoff


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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 A story that originated in South Africa, to contrast with Isadora's At the Crossroads (1991). Seth is a young Namibian whose mother has gone to the mines to be near his father when her new baby is born. Having carved a Madonna out of driftwood as a present for her, Seth sets out in a donkey cart across the desert to find her. On the second night, he frees an oryx from a twist of barbed wire; following her, he comes to his parents and new sister on Christmas night. Haarhoff, a poet and playwright who ``is active in the Namibian Children's Book Forum,'' narrates in a spare, supple style that naturally incorporates the telling details that bring Seth's journey to life, while hinting at a larger significance. The art (charcoal drawings?), reproduced in deep sepia on cream, is at first glance less sophisticated than Isadora's (which is certainly more colorful, and in a more popular style); closer perusal reveals a keen eye, a powerful line, skillful organization, and warm characterizations. An authentic, well-wrought picture of another culture. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1992
ISBN: 0-395-61300-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992