THE COMING OF NIGHT

A YORUBA TALE FROM WEST AFRICA

When Aje, the daughter of the river goddess Yemoya, leaves her underwater home to marry, what she misses most is the night. The sun shines all the time in her new home and hurts her eyes. Her husband sends couriers to Yemoya, with the request that they return with some night. Yemoya gladly packs a sack for them, warning the creatures not to peek inside. Of course, that’s a temptation too big for the animals to resist; all the bats, owls, gnats, spiders, and darkness whoosh out of the bag. At first, the animals are scared, but they soon adjust to the darkness, as does Aje, who falls into a deep peaceful sleep. The next morning, she names the morning star, the rooster, and the early rising birds as symbols of dawn. Riordan’s language is perfunctory, but Stow’s pictures portray both the fluid blue of underwater life, and the parching hot yellows and oranges of the earth. This competent retelling, fully sourced, could be added to more extensive folklore collections. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7613-1358-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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CINDERELLA

PLB 0-7358-1052-4 Cinderella (32 pp.; $15.95, PLB $15.88; Apr.; 0-7358-1051-6, PLB 0-7358-1052-4): Perrault’s ancient tale of Cinderella has been slimmed and toned down considerably, with her virtues less evident and the supporting cast less effective. Readers will wonder why Cinderella’s father, who is not conveniently dead in this story, doesn’t rally to her aid, but they will be otherwise enchanted by Koopmans’s delicate illustrations. One good French touch comes at dinner; the prince is so besotted that “even when the most delicious dishes were served for supper, he could not eat a morsel.” (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7358-1051-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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DANCE, SING, REMEMBER

A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS

Organizing according to the Jewish calendar, Kimmelman describes Jewish religious holidays, Israeli national holidays, and the observance of the Sabbath. Each holiday identified includes its name in English and Hebrew, a brief description of its meaning, and a recipe, an activity, or a bible story related to it. The brevity of some of the explanations omits some essential information. Rosh Hashanah is the first holiday in the Jewish New Year, but Kimmelman neglects to define the Jewish year. The section on Sukkot mentions, “we shake the lulav” in a description of holiday activities, but there is no clear definition in words or illustration of the lulav. In describing matzah, Kimmelman does not make the connection about why the Israelites could not wait for bread to rise and prepared matzah instead. Illustrations sometimes do not adequately illustrate the text. A person unfamiliar with a sukkah, the hut constructed for eating meals during the holiday of Sukkot, could not tell what it looks like from Eitan’s sketchy drawing. An illustration of Moses in a basket has no reference in the text to the Passover holiday. The introduction indicates that some of the holidays are recent in origin but the text makes no clear distinction between religious holidays and historically significant modern commemorations such as Yom Hashoah, the remembrance of the Holocaust and Yom Ha-atzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day. Written primarily for those who are already familiar with the celebrations, this title will not serve the informational needs of the general reader. (Nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-027725-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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