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Reviewed by:
  • Ancient Night by David Bowles
  • Amanda Toledo
Bowles, David Ancient Night; illus. by David Álvarez. Levine Querido, 2023 [40p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9781646142514 $18.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 0-6 yrs
Noche Antigua; illus. by David Álvarez. Levine Querido, 2023 [40p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9781646142545 $18.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 0-6 yrs

In a soothing world of night, the moon is lit by the nectar of a sacred tree, and Rabbit frequently treks to the maguey to refill the moon when it grows dim. Opossum, jealous of the light it sees Rabbit carrying, cracks the moon to take some for itself. Upon finding the damaged moon, Rabbit scolds Opossum and warns of a world without light; to make amends, Opossum journeys under the earth to bring [End Page 215] the sun to the sky, restoring a world of light from both sun and moon. A folkloric tone and simple text combine with the cooler colors in Álvarez’s illustrations to make this a calming selection for evening lap reads and storytimes. Deeper hues give the white-yellow light of the moon the effect of a celestial glow, and as the pages brighten with the coming of the sun, the muted colors keep a consistent tranquility. Careful blending and varying textures on leaves and the animals’ fur provide an additional lived-in feeling to the venerated characters and their sparse, beautiful world. Both English and Spanish editions feature a few short sentences per page, and Bowles’ sentences have a pleasant cadence in both languages. A note from Bowles and Álvarez covers how they drew on creation stories of the indigenous Nahua and Maya people of Mesoamerica to make something new, and then provides a brief overview of those original stories.