cover image The Son of the Sun and the Daughter of the Moon: A Saami Folktale from Russia

The Son of the Sun and the Daughter of the Moon: A Saami Folktale from Russia

Holly Young Huth. Atheneum Books, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82482-1

Uneven artwork does little to fill in the gaps of this disjointed tale set in the land of the Northern Lights (presumably the Saami region, though this term is never explained). Disapproving of a proposed marriage (""the son of a hot-headed sun is no match for my daughter""), Mother Moon places her baby girl in a human family with an old couple in the far North. In the space of a spread, the girl, Vanishia, grows to be a beauty. News of her whereabouts eventually reaches Solvake, son of the sun, but she rebuffs his advances, and her moon mother suddenly appears to lead her to the cabin of the Brothers of the Northern Lights. Predictably, she falls in love with Luminias, their leader, but their union is short-lived when the sun kills him. The grieving moon daughter still refuses to marry Solvake, so the sun flings her into the sky, where her mother catches her. Inconsistencies plague Huth's (Darkfright) narrative (Why does Mother Moon wait so long to reveal herself to her daughter? Does the sun kill Luminias because Solvake is jealous of him or because he goes out into the sunlight?). Vojtech's compositions often play cool-toned, mystical watercolors against garish, almost superimposed images of the sun. The strongest, most integrated illustration shows the sun's fury as he casts arrows down from the sky, but this as well as the climactic image of Luminias's and Vanishia's meeting is occluded by the gutter. Ages 5-8. (May)