The First Story Ever Told

Overview

Legends tell of Vilcabamba, a lost City of Gold somewhere in the mountains of Peru, that was built by the Incas and mysteriously abandoned. One day an explorer sets out in search of this fabled city. He claims the Mountains of the Moon, descends into the Valley of the Shadows, and explores the River of the Rainbow, but the ancient city and its gold are nowhere to be found. One night, while the explorer dreams by his campfire, a voice emerges from the flames - the voice of ...
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Overview

Legends tell of Vilcabamba, a lost City of Gold somewhere in the mountains of Peru, that was built by the Incas and mysteriously abandoned. One day an explorer sets out in search of this fabled city. He claims the Mountains of the Moon, descends into the Valley of the Shadows, and explores the River of the Rainbow, but the ancient city and its gold are nowhere to be found. One night, while the explorer dreams by his campfire, a voice emerges from the flames - the voice of Grandmother Fire.

An explorer goes in search of the Inca's legendary lost city of gold, but discovers instead a more spiritual treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Saxe
This is a magical recounting of the legend of Vilcabamba, a lost City of Gold sitting high in the mountains of Peru. According to the Incan legend, Vilcabamba is linked to the creation of life on Earth. We follow along with an explorer as he discovers the true location and profound meaning of this lost Incan city. The authors have paced the telling of this tale very well, and the combination of their storytelling and the illustrator's rich drawings work to bring us an altogether beautiful book. Not only will readers and listeners enjoy this as a simple creation tale, but also they may be inspired to learn more about the Inca and other American Indians.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-A modern explorer, looking for the legendary Vilcabamba, City of Gold, travels through the Mountains of the Moon to the River of the Rainbow. There, dreaming by his campfire, he hears the "first story ever told" from Grandmother Fire. She tells how the Earth and the Sun fell in love, the Sun shed a tear of joy, and how his golden tear fell among the Stone People, who passed the golden stream into the center of the Earth. Then life was created from the Earth's womb, and the Children of the Sun were born to gather the sun's gold and build their empire. When the "Others" came to steal the gold, the last of the Incas disappeared into the mythical place of warmth and light, Vilcabamba. Jendresen's tale is a nice addition to any collection of creation stories. Although no sources are listed except Incan "tradition," the story suggests mythic themes of cosmic birth and the importance of sun worship. Yoshi's bright, dramatic scenes of Peruvian mountains, jungle, and colorfully garbed people add to this picture book's appeal.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Cities of gold have haunted imaginations seemingly forever, but this story of an explorer's search for one such city, the fabled Vilcabamba—inspired by the creation tales of the Incas of Peru—begins and ends in the banal.

An anonymous explorer "discovers" a map to the city in a museum display—a map that despite the traffic in the museum, no one else has noticed. He follows the map through a romanticized landscape—the Mountains of the Moon, the Valley of Shadow, the River of the Rainbow (yes, a rainbow hovers over it)—gets tired, sleeps. Grandmother Fire visits in the night to tell the explorer the first story ever told, a creation myth, after which he awakens to see "the jungle shining golden in the early morning light. . . . And he knew that he had found Vilcabamba." The language is competent but unmoving; neither words nor illustrations provide a solid basis from which the inner journey—no matter how valid and important—can be launched. Yoshi's illustrations are surprisingly corny, static, and inconsistent: The explorer looks like a boy in some scenes, a man in others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416989615
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/20/2008
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 432,836
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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