cover image A Promise to the Sun: An African Story

A Promise to the Sun: An African Story

Tololwa M. Mollel. Joy Street Books, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-57813-4

Mollel ( Orphan Boy ) links two natural phenomena in one intriguing, if slightly disjointed, tale. Alarmed at the drought that afflicts their land, the birds send the Bat on a quest for rain. His petitions take him from moon to stars to clouds to wind and finally to the sun, who agrees to begin the rain cycle if the birds will build him a nest on the highest mountain. When the chattering creatures do not live up to their end of the bargain, the Bat retreats shamefully to a cave, ever after venturing out only at night. For its part, the sun lingers hopefully each night at the mountaintop before dipping below the horizon. Though some may feel that Mollel's story lacks consistency (the sun, for example, never questions the birds' failure to fulfill their agreement), he deftly depicts nature's many interconnections--and imbues his unaffected yarn with a modicum of drama. Vidal's ( The Legend of El Dorado ; Rainbow Crow ) watercolors, rendered in her typically dynamic palette, feature a brightly colored array of geographically appropriate flora and fauna. Her avian rainbow, in particular, stands in brilliant contrast to the barren savannah. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)