cover image Sun-Day, Moon-Day: How the Week Was Made

Sun-Day, Moon-Day: How the Week Was Made

Cherry Gilchrist. Barefoot Books, $18.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-901223-63-7

Adopting the same format she used so effectively in A Calendar of Festivals (Children's Forecasts, Sept. 28), Gilchrist devotes a spread to the origins of each day's name and significance, then follows it with a relevant story or myth. Sunday paves the way with the most effective pairing: the author briefly describes reverence for the sun in Aztec, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman cultures, and Constantine's designation of ""Sun-day"" as a Christian day of worship in 321 A.D.; then follows with the myth of Phaethon, son of the Greek sun god, Helios. Readers may have difficulty following the logic that links some of the other stories to their day (e.g., Tuesday was associated with Tiw, a Norse god of battle, but the tale that follows is that of Minerva--goddess of wisdom--and Arachne), and the range of cultures from which the myths originate is more limited here than in her previous title (two legends are from ancient Greece, two from Babylonia). But the etymologies and myths are illuminating nonetheless, and the book's closing pages brim with intriguing facts: how the 365-day year was created; the Aztec names for the first day of each week in a month (Rabbit, House, Flint and Cane); and a table highlighting the names of the seven days of the week in five languages. Hall (The Book of Animal Tales) customizes her palette and style to the various cultures depicted, yet her compositions possess a familiar storybook feel. The paintings wrap around many of the spreads, lending the informative collection a classical ambience. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)