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by Pat Sherman & illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: March 28th, 2005
ISBN: 0-618-32430-5
Publisher: Clarion

This original story by the first time author is a pourqoui tale of the seasons, similar to the familiar Greek legend of Persephone. In the before time, Sun’s daughters Maize, Pumpkin and Red Bean provide food in the midst of perpetual warmth. Maize, however, will not heed her mother’s warnings to stay in the open fields, and, wandering off the path, she encounters Silver. In spite of his icy coldness, she warms his skin and spends the night in his cave. Angered when she does not return, Sun denies her gifts to the people. The little gray pewee birds bring about her release for half the year by flying through the trees begging them, “Please weep. Please weep.” When they do, Silver keeps his promise to let Maize go for half a year, so seasons come to the people. Sherman states that the tale is an inspiration not an adaptation. Christie fills his paintings with the earthly hues of oranges, yellows and greens while his figures are more impressionistic than solid. While adding to the canon of Iroquois lore is to be commended, this reads as if the specifics of northeastern flora and fauna are simply grafted on to a universal tale. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)