cover image THE SUN'S DAUGHTER


Pat Sherman, , illus. by R. Gregory Christie. . Clarion, $16 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-618-32430-9

First-timer Sherman tells a Native-American–style myth that explains the origins of winter and summer. She keeps the tale's diction authentic, even majestic: "Once upon a time, the people of the earth did not have to dig or plant or hoe or reap, for the Sun had sent her own daughter Maize to walk among them." In Christie's (The Palm of My Heart ) full-bleed spreads, stark horizons dwarf the human figures, whose deeply-lined faces resemble ghost masks. Spontaneous-looking brushstrokes in green and yellow stand for corn stalks, and a comb dragged across the paint marks rows in a field. With a nod to Persephone and Demeter, Sherman says that Maize disobeyed Sun, wandered too far and was lured by the subterranean spirit Silver: "Please... I saw your golden light," he says. "Please, I am so lonely in my home underground." He says he will not free Maize "until the trees weep." Meanwhile, Sun says she will not touch the earth again until Maize returns, leaving the humans hungry and cold. Small, brave gray pewees help to find Maize. They fly among the trees, crying, "Please weep. Please weep." Sun relents a bit, sap flows—the trees "weep"—and Silver must keep his promise to let Maize free for half a year. Maize's tale will sow the seeds for discussions about myths and the role they play. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)