cover image Moon Mother: A Native American Creation Tale

Moon Mother: A Native American Creation Tale

Ed Young. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021301-5

The Caldecott Medalist's eloquent, impressionistic artistry lights up the pages of this Native American creation tale. The story begins when the earth is young; a place of great beauty, it is devoid of animals or men. A spirit person arrives and creates living creatures for companions, but one day he spies a woman of his own kind and returns to the spirit world with her (she becomes the moon). As a gift, the pair leave behind a newborn girl, who eventually marries the chief, and from this union comes the human race. Young's poetic text speaks to the Native American reverence for the connection between humans and the natural world; here, the ``moon mother'' is a central figure in the eternal cycle of life. A baby cries at birth ``because he has left the moon-land and has lost his moon mother,'' and death comes for the aged when the moon mother turns her face away. The strength of Young's haunting art is its subtlety: his softly shaded pastels always suggest rather than delineate. A young woman's face, upturned to the morning light, reveals her love for her mate; the graceful line of hills on the horizon hint at a figure in final repose. A worthy addition both to a general folktale collection and to a specific round-up of creation myths. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)