cover image Two Bad Boys: A Very Old Cherokee Tale

Two Bad Boys: A Very Old Cherokee Tale

Anonymous, Gail E. Haley. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45311-6

""Since that time, people have had to hunt for their meat, plant their vegetables, and work in this world."" Although this may sound startlingly like the banishment of a certain First Couple, ""two bad boys"" are to blame for this human condition, according to Haley's well-told version of a Cherokee tale. In the beginning of time, a boy's reflection in a pond springs to life. This new brother, Wild Boy, tempts the formerly obedient Boy into mischief. They discover the cave of animals from which their father sparingly hunts; they accidentally release all the animals. They find the hut from which their mother gathers abundant vegetables; they try to take some and the hut vanishes. Thereafter they and their progeny must hunt and farm vegetables to survive. Caldecott Medalist Haley's (A Story, A Story) retelling is crystal-clear, conscientiously researched and handsomely illustrated in earth-toned acrylics. Her careful compositions, essentially realistic but lightly infused with mysticism, subtly evoke a paradise lost. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)