A myth from one of the indigenous cultures of the West Indies explains how a golden flower first brought water to the world and how Puerto Rico came into existence.
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Grade 2-5?Jaffe invites children to read this Puerto Rican creation myth while imagining that they are sitting in a magical circle on a tropical night. The storyteller, a Taino Indian, tells of a time when the Earth was a waterless desert plain at the base of a tall mountain. A boy, looking for food, finds a seed that he saves in his pouch. He finds more and plants them on top of the mountain. A forest grows, and at the base of one tree a vine produces first a beautiful golden flower, then a pumpkin. The people are frightened by the strange noises coming from it, and they stay away. But one day two men struggle for the fruit until the vine breaks. The pumpkin rolls down the mountain and bursts open, releasing the sea and all the creatures in it. The people rush to the top of the mountain, which becomes their island home. The text is simple and lends itself to a storyteller's performance. The book is large enough to share with a group, and the words flow smoothly across the bottom of the pages without interrupting the illustrations. Sanchez's acrylic-and-gouache art creates a primitive setting with vibrant colors and angular designs. The characters' emotions are easily interpreted and contribute to the mood of the story. A worthy addition to any folktale collection.?Betty Teague, Blythe Academy of Languages, Greenville, SC
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Subtitled ``A Taino Myth From Puerto Rico,'' this is the legend of how water came to the world. Puerto Rico, according to its earliest inhabitants, was once a mountain in the middle of a vast dry plain. A child receives magic seeds that grow into a lush green forest on the mountaintop. In that forest, a vine produces a beautiful golden flower, and from the flower springs a great golden pumpkin. Two men fight over the pumpkin, and in their struggle they drop it. It rolls down the mountainside, bursts open on a rock, and out springs the sea, flooding the plain and making Puerto Rico the island it is today. Jaffe prefaces the story with an introduction to Taino storytelling tradition, then uses an afterword to provide more background information on these first people, including their fate at the hands of Columbus. The story is told in a simple, lyrical style that will quickly involve young listeners in the myth. S nchez's illustrations, done in acrylic and gouache, are alive with swirling color; his human figures, squat and thick, in keeping with the style of pre-Columbian art, have the round-eyed wonder and build of Roy Gerrard's many characters. A welcome addition to the folklore shelves. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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