Daybreak, Nightfall

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Day and night, life and death are sometimes seen as opposites of each other. But they can also be understood as falling in a continuum, one containing the other.
In this wonderful pair of poems by noted Argentine/Mexican poet Jorge Elías Luján, both ideas are expressed. An Apple in the Apple Orchard describes a young boy and girl in the early morning playing a sort of hide-and-seek amongst the apple trees. Pale As Bone takes the same children ...
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Overview


Day and night, life and death are sometimes seen as opposites of each other. But they can also be understood as falling in a continuum, one containing the other.
In this wonderful pair of poems by noted Argentine/Mexican poet Jorge Elías Luján, both ideas are expressed. An Apple in the Apple Orchard describes a young boy and girl in the early morning playing a sort of hide-and-seek amongst the apple trees. Pale As Bone takes the same children on a carousel ride where a Lady-as-Pale-as-a-Bone is trying to choose whom to take with her.
Manuel Monroy, a very talented young Mexican illustrator, sets both scenes in a magic garden in which the poems are like a kind of dance between and among the elements that constitute human experience.
The poetry, which is wonderful to read aloud, can be understood at its most literal level and at deeper levels with great pleasure. But no matter how it is read and understood, this evocative, mysterious book will be enjoyed.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two enigmatic but hypnotic poems by the Argentina-born author of In My Hand constitute the text of this intriguing, often disquieting work. In "An Apple in the Orchard," a boy encounters a girl who "opens her mouth like a bewildered moon." Her hand "slides down/ her face from side to side" and "erases her mouth." In "Pale-as-Bone" a sinister-seeming Lady-as-Pale-as-a-Bone approaches the boy and girl as they ride the merry-go-round. Monroy, a Mexican artist, translates Luj n's elliptical imagery as a surreal sequence of scenes rendered in a deceptively childlike style. The results are dramatic, especially in the second poem, which becomes powerfully ominous. Lady-as-Pale-as-a-Bone resembles a cadaverous, ghostly moon and her streaming, night-blue hair is flecked with carrion crows. Like La Llorona, the weeping woman of Spanish folklore who wanders the streets looking for children to snatch, the lady frightens the two protagonists. She asks, "Which of these shall I carry off first?" Both poems wittily resolve the terror they evoke. In the first poem, the girl's "mouth slowly reappears on her face," as if it were "a moon returning/ from orbit around the apple"-or as if she were playing peek-a-boo ("Carahooria!"). In the second poem, the Lady takes neither boy nor girl but mounts a merry-go-round tin horse. Artistically complex, these tense poetic images may require considerable explication for younger audience members. Ages 8-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Two poems fill the pages of this picture book with the innocence of childhood adventure and the intervention of a mysterious adult in the game. In "An Apple in the Orchard," a boy and girl are playing in an orchard that boasts at once of trees that are just right for climbing and fruit big enough to hide behind. Imagination runs as wild as the children and all ends happily. The second verse, "Pale-As-Bone" opens with the same children joyfully riding a merry-go-round. The lady described in the title appears and announces her desire to take someone with her. Rather frightening she is with crows decorating her hair and her empty eye sockets filled, at one point, with the little girl. However, courage takes the day as the Lady-as-Pale-as-a-Bone is apparently appeased by the children's responses and chooses to ride away on one of the carrousel horses. Yet, there is foreshadowing that she may return another day. Doubtless, the poetry will spark discussion among readers. Monroy's surreal drawings spill suspense and energy across each page. 2003, Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre,
— Janice DeLong
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Two short free-verse poems by an award-winning Argentine writer, illustrated by an up-and-coming Mexican artist. "An Apple in the Orchard" takes place in the morning and "Pale-As-Bone" is set late in the day. In the first, a boy covets an apple in a tree and makes friends with a little girl. In the second, a hollow-eyed Lady-as-Pale-as-a-Bone wonders, "Which of these shall I carry off first?" as she holds a merry-go-round in her hand, with four horses and the two children on it. Both poems are full of images, some of which are rather surreal and a little scary: the little girl wipes her mouth and it disappears; the lady has blue hair with black crows entangled in it and hollow skeletonlike eye sockets. The illustrator has depicted the images that the poems conjure up very well, in childlike pictures that add to the mysterious atmosphere. This book offers a lot for a class to discuss but will probably hold limited appeal for children picking it up on their own.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888994868
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 4/4/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.24 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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