Michael Lind, , illus. by Kate Kiesler. . Holt, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6573-2

Lind makes his children's book debut with an uneven verse rendition of a familiar Comanche legend. When the People suffer a drought, the old warrior Spirit Talker divines that the People are being punished for greed and that each must sacrifice his most cherished possession. Only a young girl is willing to give up her private treasure—a doll that wears a bonnet of blue jay feathers—and her selflessness is rewarded when the rains yield fields and fields of bluebonnet flowers the next morning. The storytelling is imaginative and probing: rather than judging the characters, readers will sympathize with the warrior who, prizing his bird-bone vest, waits for someone else to sacrifice first ("When others act, then I will join the rest"); the woman who treasures her beaded moccasins; Spirit Talker who can't relinquish his pipe; etc. But the enjambment and the rhymes are often stilted: "The morning glowed. The child awoke/ to hear the folk/ exclaiming all around. The girl/ stretched to unfurl/ the tepee flap." Kiesler's (Old Elm Speaks) richly textured acrylics effectively portray moments alternately somber and celebratory. Thick brushstrokes of gold and tan delineate the dry landscape against expanses of blue prairie sky, while more refined lines reveal such detail as feathers on a leather shield or beadwork. Especially captivating are the lush, impressionistic bluebonnets. Despite awkward moments in the narrative, this retelling has much to offer. Ages 4-9. (Apr.)