Again offering an imposing visual interpretation of legend, Caldecott Medalist McDermott (Arrow to the Sun) recounts an Aztec tale recorded in the 16th century. As the Lord of the Night laments that the people are spending their lives ""in darkness and silence,"" McDermott captures the god and his symbolic motifs on paper handmade in Mexico, using acrylic fabric paint, opaque ink and oil pastel. The textured artwork comes alive in subtle gradations of deep blues and purples with intricate patterns in sweeping, full-spread scenes that call up Aztec sculpture and temples. When this King of the Gods sends Wind on a mission to the realm of the Sun, to free the four musicians he holds captive, blazing golds, reds and oranges light up the pages in a dramatic shift of palette. Featuring Night as the benevolent ""soul of the world"" and Sun as a selfish villain (who ultimately does share his light) gives the story an intriguing twist. The liberated musicians (named Red, Blue, Yellow and Green) bring color and joyous sound to the world (and add even more diversity to the paintings). McDermott adds some fresh description to his concise, stately narrative (as when the musicians ""curled their toes in the cool earth and began to play""), yet it is surely his sumptuous paintings that command this splendid volume. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997 Release date: 09/01/1997 Genre: Children's
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