SUN HORSE MOON HORSE

In an effort to imagine the origin of the ancient White Horse of Uffington, cut into a hillside with what she feels to be a magical power, Sutcliff invents Lubrin Dhu, a chief's third son, who is somehow possessed of the true artistic impulse, a need to get into his impermanent drawings the feel and the flight of the birds—or of the horses which are at the center of his people's economy. But invaders from the South, also horse people, conquer their hold, and for the sake of the few of his people who survive the siege, Lubrin makes a bargain with the new chief. He will create the horse on the hillside, and in return his people will be free to move on to other, dreamed-of horse runs further north. Sutcliff refers to Lubrin's work as picture-magic, and though she never suggests any particular beliefs associated with the activity, it is understood by all that Lubrin's own ritual death must be part of the contract. And so Lubrin creates a horse worth dying for, even though he knows that a lesser work would satisfy the one who ordered it. Though Sutcliff has given us more rounded recreations in the past, and here as elsewhere her plot sometimes seems too well made, her vision of an artist simultaneously—in fact, indissolubly—true to his art and to his people is impressively realized.

Pub Date: March 20, 1978

ISBN: 0525404953

Page Count: 111

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1978

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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