The Tree That Rains: The Flood Myth of the Huichol Indians of Mexico

Emery Bernhard, Author, Durga Bernhard, Illustrator
Emery Bernhard, Author, Durga Bernhard, Illustrator Holiday House $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1108-5
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Told with little panache, this Noah's Ark-like folktale will likely leave the reader at sea, floundering for some sort of context. Watakame, a Huichol Indian, sees that a fig tree he had chopped down the day before has grown back. The perpetrator, Great-Grandmother Earth, explains that she was showing him the futility of his labor because ``the people have forgotten the gods, and a great flood is coming.'' She directs him to build an ark, stock it with seeds and coal, and bring his faithful dog. After the flood recedes, Watakame replants the earth, and a great fig tree waters the fields. In an odd addendum, his dog turns out to be a woman, with whom he then populates the world. Propping up the story is an arresting visual mix of the ancient and contemporary, rendered in a vivid, Mexican palette. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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