HOW MUSIC CAME TO THE WORLD

AN ANCIENT MEXICAN MYTH

The wind god, Quetzalcoatl, climbs to the House of the Sun and brings back musicians—a flute player, a wandering minstrel, singers of lullabies and love songs—who fill the silent earth with music: ``Soon people learned to sing and play, and so did the trees and birds, the whales and wolves, the running streams...'' The adapter details his sources and modifications in an excellent note; in another, the illustrator describes her careful research and ``fusion of motifs from many Mexican cultures.'' The narration has a fresh, lively informality that especially suits it for reading aloud, while Carol Ober's handsomely stylized figures, rich with earth tones and sunny blues and greens, appear in boldly decorative compositions that are just right for group sharing. Compare this to the splendid Richard Lewis version (All of You Was Singing, 1990); the Obers' more accessible rendition makes a fine bridge to Lewis's poetic text and Ed Young's more abstract visual imagery. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-67523-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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