cover image El Desierto Es Mi Madre / Desert Is My Mother

El Desierto Es Mi Madre / Desert Is My Mother

Pat Mora. Pinata Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-55885-121-4

With the simplest of words, Mora (Listen to the Desert/Oye al desierto) invokes the grand powers of the desert. A girl with long, dark hair narrates: ""I say feed me. She serves red prickly pear on a spiked cactus.... I say frighten me. She shouts thunder, flashes lightning."" To underscore the dream-like quality of the narrator's thoughts about the desert, Lechon places the girl alternately outside or partially within the frames of paintings that float on a desert-like textured background. However, he seems capable of endowing her with only saccharine expressions, and her facial features change drastically from one spread to the next. His trite characterizations suppress the beauty of Mora's bilingual text, which, especially in Spanish, communicates quiet joy and reverence. Ages 3-7. (Dec.)