cover image The Boy Who Loved Morning

The Boy Who Loved Morning

Shannon K. Jacobs. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-45556-5

Jacobs's ( Song of the Giraffe ) Native American coming-of-age story, a wholly invented counterpart to The Gift of Changing Woman (reviewed below), centers around the naming ceremony of an unspecified tribe. As he prepares himself for the ritual, Jacobs's protagonist greets each morning with a song, playing the wooden flute given him by his grandfather. He discovers that his music has the power to invoke morning light. When he finally performs at the ceremony, the participants admire his music and begin dancing wildly. The boy becomes so carried away with his effect on the people that he makes the sun shine at midnight. His stricken grandfather teaches the boy that pride does not honor the sacred harmony of the earth, and he finally receives his true name: Morning Song. Jacobs writes informedly about Native culture, but her text is wordy and children may lose interest. Hays's soft-hued acrylics in pale gold, brown, green and blue give expression to a real sense of place and to the Native American reverence for life, while his decorative borders and insets relieve the cumbersome blocks of text. One full-spread painting stands out: when the boy makes the sun rise at the climax of the ceremony, light seems to spill from the page. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)