cover image How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend

How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend

Jerrie Oughton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-58798-0

According to the Navajos, the jumble of stars in the night sky reflects the disorders and confusion of life itself. In this lyrical retelling Oughton--in her first children's book--paints a picture of calm deliberation as, at the beginning of the world, First Woman determines to write the laws in the sky for all to see. So she positions her jewelry ``crafting her careful mosaic on the blackberry cloth of night.'' Coyote offers to help with this important task but becomes impatient and sends a cascade of stars hurtling into the night, creating chaos for all time. Oughton's text echoes First Woman's self-confidence and is sprinkled throughout with deft turns of phrase. Desimini's somber yet luminous art evokes nature's solemn beauty as it captures the silent mystery of the ``rim of night.'' Her solid, slightly static figures firmly place this fantasy-like world of the desert in reality. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)