cover image Once When the World Was Green

Once When the World Was Green

Jan Wahl. Tricycle Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-883672-12-6

Inspired by the symbols and themes of the Mayan ""bible,"" the Popol Vuh, Wahl (Little Eight John) concocts a lyrical but somewhat arbitrarily structured fable that unfolds in a south-of-the-border, Eden-like setting. When Corn Grower succumbs to the temptation of killing animals solely for personal adornment, eagles carry off his son, Small Ears, seemingly to prevent the child from following in his father's ruthless footsteps. The point is murky, however, since the child's eventual return is occasioned not by the father's reform but by happenstance (the eagles finally grow frustrated trying to raise a wingless child). Vandenbroeck's (The Mouse Bride) luminous, atmospheric and abundantly green illustrations recall a primordial time when animals dominated the earth. Even without a particularly substantial story, the textual and visual imagery transports the reader to a mysterious, mythical place. Ages 7-up. (Apr.)