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SURF WAR! by Margaret Read MacDonald


A Folktale from the Marshall Islands

by Margaret Read MacDonald & illustrated by Geraldo Valério

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-87483-889-3
Publisher: August House

This third collaboration between author and illustrator (Conejito, 2006, and Go to Sleep, Gecko!, 2007) derives from Micronesia, specifically the Marshall Islands. Little Sandpiper and great Whale have a surf war over territory. Each claims there is more of their kind; Whale calls forth his whale brothers and Sandpiper calls her sisters. More birds or more whales? Impossible to tell, so they next call for their cousins. Whale has an idea: If the whales eat up all the land, there will be no place for the birds to perch. Sandpiper has an idea: If the birds drink up all the sea, there will be no water for the whales. But, drying up the sea will also dry up the birds’ food source, so they spit back the water and the whales spit back the island; the bragging contest ends in sharing “surf and turf.” The telling is rich with a storyteller’s voice and sound effects, while Valério’s bright blues and yellows span the spreads with broad, brush strokes that mirror the setting of this symbiotic, ecology folktale. (source notes) (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)