The elders say that humanity currently resides in the fifth tonatiuh, or sun. Here’s the story of how humans came to be.
The preceding four tonatiuhs bore witness to failed trials. First, the gods covered sacred bones with mud, but these giant humans proved too fragile, becoming mountains in the end. The second set of humans, smaller than the first, developed into fish. Under the third tonatiuh, the enraged gods turned the rebellious humans into monkeys. The fourth tonatiuh resulted in the latest, lazy humans assuming the form of birds. At this point, the gods conceded any hope of creating humans, all except for Quetzalcóatl, the Feathered Serpent. Taking along his staff, shield, cloak, and shell ornament, Feathered Serpent travels to Mictlán, the underworld, to retrieve the sacred bones from Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of the underworld. To reach where Mictlantecuhtli dwells, Feathered Serpent journeys through nine regions, each region a test of his bravery and perseverance. Accompanied by a dog spirit guide named Xólotl, Feathered Serpent succeeds in his journey. Full of warm landscapes bathed under the sun’s light, multicolored night skies set against stars, and cavernous walls of rugged browns, Tonatiuh’s artwork—familiar in form, electric in spirit—astonishes in this retelling of a Mesoamerican creation story. Told with succinct clarity and a hint of mischief, this rendition begs for rereads. Here’s a new high-water mark for the artist. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads reviewed at 77.1% of actual size.)
Simply spellbinding.(author’s note, glossary, select bibliography) (Picture book/cosmology. 6-9)