CUCKOO/CUCU by Lois Ehlert
Kirkus Star

CUCKOO/CUCU

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

A festive bilingual offering from Ehlert (Moon Rope/Un lazo a la luna, 1992, etc.), with the Spanish translation by Gloria de Aragon Andejar, based on a Mayan tale explaining how the cuckoo became plain. Cuckoo has a lovely song and glorious plumage, but she is lazy. The other birds and animals enjoy her singing, but caw about her lack of ambition. When Owl, the "bird boss" (or "el jefe de los pajaros"), announces that the next day will be seed collection, all the birds go to sleep dreaming of the work ahead. But Cuckoo stays awake, singing, and thus spots the fire that threatens the food supply. She works through the night alone, saving seeds. Her beautiful feathers and sweet voice are scorched; in the morning, her fellows almost don't recognize her. They all agree, as they rejoice in her deed, that "you can't tell much about a bird by looking at its feathers." Ehlert's note says she was inspired by Mexican folk art, and echoes of Mexican papercuts, tinware, santos sculpture, and other forms appear in flat, collage-like patterns, vibrating with rich, bright color. Silver cutouts like tin ornaments illustrate the glossary that appears on the title page-spread. A book almost as much a piece of folk art as it is a folktale. (Picture book/folklore. 3-7)
Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-200274-X
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997




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