cover image Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth

Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth

Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4677-2

Through four tonatiuhs (suns, or epochs), the Mesoamerican gods try to create humans, covering sacred bones with mud and corn paste. After their attempts result in mountains, birds, monkeys, and fish, however (“the mud would slip off their bones and slide into the rivers and lakes”), the gods “gave the sacred bones to Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of the underworld, to keep. But Quetzalcóatl—Feathered Serpent—the god of knowledge, did not want to give up.” In strong, spare language, Tonatiuh relates Feathered Serpent’s journey through nine forbidding regions, including “Temiminalóyan, the field where it rains arrows,” to retrieve the bones. Accompanied by spirit guide Xólotl, a dog, Feathered Serpent outwits Mictlantecuhtli. Though he breaks the bones, he invents humans using the broken pieces and the gods’ blood: “It is said by the elders that we are the descendants of those humans and that we are living in the fifth tonatiuh.” Hand-drawn, digitally collaged art, incorporating Mesoamerican styles and motifs, deepens the power of Tonatiuh’s tale, a tantalizing slice of Mesoamerica’s rich stories. Includes author’s note and glossary with a pronunciation guide. Ages 5–9. [em](Sept.) [/em]