An unassuming version of a common folk tale, this tells how ""when the world was new, before there were any people,"" the animals got fire to warm their nights. They first notice the pleasing warmth when lightning strikes a tree on an island--and so ensue their various attempts to reach the island and bring a piece of the fire back. First the larger animals try to form a bridge, but ""all they got was wet."" Other animals volunteer and fail, and we see, in turn, how the raven's wings turned black, the owls' eyes became red or ringed, and snakes scorched their skins. Finally a tiny water spider walks across the water and brings back one glowing coal in a bowl on her back. ""And if you catch a water spider you will see that it still carries a tiny bowl on its back."" Weil's characteristic childlike drawings could help pull in the youngest members of this oft-told story's potential audience.