Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE COMING OF NIGHT by James Riordan


A Yoruba Tale from West Africa

by James Riordan

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7613-1358-3
Publisher: Millbrook

When Aje, the daughter of the river goddess Yemoya, leaves her underwater home to marry, what she misses most is the night. The sun shines all the time in her new home and hurts her eyes. Her husband sends couriers to Yemoya, with the request that they return with some night. Yemoya gladly packs a sack for them, warning the creatures not to peek inside. Of course, that’s a temptation too big for the animals to resist; all the bats, owls, gnats, spiders, and darkness whoosh out of the bag. At first, the animals are scared, but they soon adjust to the darkness, as does Aje, who falls into a deep peaceful sleep. The next morning, she names the morning star, the rooster, and the early rising birds as symbols of dawn. Riordan’s language is perfunctory, but Stow’s pictures portray both the fluid blue of underwater life, and the parching hot yellows and oranges of the earth. This competent retelling, fully sourced, could be added to more extensive folklore collections. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)