Lewis (Storm Boy) once again dips into the wealth of visual and mythic traditions of the Pacific Northwest coastal peoples to create a suspenseful original tale. Here, a chief's daughter witnesses two boys abducting all but one of the frogs in a nearby lake, and is led by the lone frog to a parallel world where she tells what she knows to the frog people's grandmother. Emerging to find that everyone has fled from an erupting volcano, the girl rescues the captive frogs and returns them to the lake. A sudden rainstorm then puts out the fires, saving her village. Lewis's tale has a sophisticated edge: by dropping visual hints rather than spelling everything out, he adds layers of mystery to the story. Readers may speculate, for instance (and confirm their predictions in the detailed concluding author's note), whether the old woman, who hides her face behind a conical hat that emits smoke and lives in a house with a hot, rumbling floor, has anything to do with the volcano's eruption. Lewis's precise, distinctive brushwork echoes the highly stylized Native American totems and masks, and his use of color is arresting. The vivid reds of the elaborate totems, traditional button blanket and tribal canoes form a dynamic contrast to the subtle grays and greens of the pebbled beaches, volcano and dark pines. Lewis's tale will be welcomed by fans of folklore and Native American literature, particularly those with an interest in the art and traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Ages 4-10. (Oct.) FYI: A portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery program for tribal youth.
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997 Release date: 10/01/1997 Genre: Children's