ARROW TO THE SUN
A Pueblo Indian Tale
The gold, ochre and black of the stylized pueblo, the Boy's transformation from a Kachina-like silhouette into an arrow strong enough to reach his father the Sun and, finally, the explosion of color as Boy enters the Sun's four chambers to confront monster lions, serpents, bees and lightning -- all add up to a richer, more kinetic, more functional balance between story and visual effects than were to be found in McDermott's highly praised Anansi the Spider. In this spare, simple form the tale of the Boy who leaves the earth to pass the tests set by his immortal father and then returns to earth where the people celebrate his presence with a Dance of Life has obvious Christian and other parallels. And though no illustrated book can quite capture the shimmering, psychedelic transformations of McDermott's animated film version of the same tale, Boy's movement through the pages of boldly designed scenes expresses all the action of the narrative in clear pictorial terms. McDermott's fusion of primitive costumes, motifs and legend with contemporary design and color sense is highly ambitious -- and, in this instance, explosively, elementally beautiful.