Colorful and eye-catching artwork accompanies this rhyming story of bravery and kindness.
It is winter, and seemingly never-ending snow has covered the land where the animals live. Filled with tedium and frozen to the bone, the animals decide on a plan: their bravest one should embark on a journey to bring the Sun’s warmth to provide them heat. They choose Rainbow Crow, with “radiant feathers and sweet singing voice,” to “battle through ice, wind, and snow.” The courageous crow flies toward the Sun and begs for relief; the Sun gives him a burning branch to take back to land, but its soot turns his feathers black. The crow is despondent, but the other animals convince him that his good deed is evidence that his “beauty inside is the heart of the matter.” Although a specific source is not stated, debut Scottish author/illustrator Howarth tells readers that this is a “tale that has been passed down through generations of Lenni Lenape Indians, mostly orally.” The rhyming text is mostly just serviceable; the book’s forte is the outstanding multimedia illustrations that combine lithography and watercolors. Their pastel palette really brings home the warmth of the story she tells and underscores its message: that bravery and kindness are beautiful things in themselves.
A heartfelt debut. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)