cover image Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun

Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun

Baje Whitethorne. Northland Publishing, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87358-587-3

Whitethorne, a Navajo artist making his children's book debut, presents a slice of rural Navajo life in this story-within-a-story. Grandfather Pipa calls Kii Leonard into the hogan to tell him that the sun ``has died''; a solar eclipse has washed the surrounding mountains in and deep purples and reds. He explains to the boy that he must wait respectfully for the Na'ach'aahii, who come from the Four Directions carrying a paint brush and a can of paint, each responsible for replacing a different color of the rainbow. Repainting the world after the eclipse, the Na'ach'aahii restore life and allow the rebirth of the sun-processes pleasingly depicted in the Southwest-style art. While the text is repetitious and gawky, the theme is appealing, and the framing device affords readers of other cultures a rare opportunity to experience a Native American perspective. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)