cover image One Night

One Night

Cristina Kessler. Philomel Books, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22726-4

Clad in billowing blue robes, the nomadic Tuareg people travel the vast Saharan sands. Muhamad, a young Tuareg, leads a herd to graze each morning before dawn, marking his position by noting the acacia trees and termite hills. One evening he sees a goat laboring to deliver her first kid, and he knows he must stay with her, alone in the darkening desert, ""for I must deliver safely all goats to my father."" While he waits with his charge, he reminds himself of the wisdom of his elders, and he quietly realizes that his demonstration of duty is proof of his manhood. In a striking first-person voice, debut picture-book author Kessler's text mingles the proud self-assurance of the Tuareg with their reverence for Allah and nature. Schoenherr's (America Alive: A History) page-spread watercolors, with their deep-toned backgrounds and often spare images, evoke the cultural nuances of the ""blue people""-and the space and pace of life in a landscape that stretches beyond national boundaries. Resonant and stirring. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)