cover image Lucy’s Light

Lucy’s Light

Margarita del Mazo, trans. from the Spanish by John Brokenbrow, illus. by Silvia Álvarez. Cuento de Luz (Legato, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-84-16147-00-7

In a sweet but uneven offering, a young firefly’s excitement about lighting up the night with her family turns to intimidation when she realizes how insignificant her light seems compared to that of the moon. Álvarez’s deep shades of blue and violet give the nocturnal forest a magical undertone while contrasting with the fireflies’ fuzzy yellow lights and the white glow of the full moon. And her bug-eyed, bright teal fireflies are adorable, accessorized with cloche hats, newsboy caps, and leaf umbrellas. But the story itself is let down in several places by clunky language and hard-to-track jumps in time. “You’re still too small,” Grandma Firefly tells Lucy one night, “but soon you’ll shine just like everyone else!” On the next page, Lucy’s father tells her that her time has come, but the text doesn’t do enough to help bridge the transition; it feels like the same evening, although more time has presumably passed. Lucy’s elders provide patient, loving reassurances throughout, but her turnaround, sparked by learning that the moon’s light is merely reflected, feels as arbitrary as her initial crisis of confidence. Ages 4–up. (Nov.)