How Night Came from the Sea: A Story from Brazil

How Night Came from the Sea: A Story from Brazil

by Mary-Joan Gerson, Carla Golembe
     
 
"Can you imagine a world without night? No moonbeams? No stars? No time to rest in your bed? This story tells how night came to Brazil. Celebrating the rhythm of evening and morning, shadow and light, rest and activity, this lyrical fairytale is the story of the ancient African sea goddess Iemanji whose daughter marries one of the sons of the earth people who live in

Overview

"Can you imagine a world without night? No moonbeams? No stars? No time to rest in your bed? This story tells how night came to Brazil. Celebrating the rhythm of evening and morning, shadow and light, rest and activity, this lyrical fairytale is the story of the ancient African sea goddess Iemanji whose daughter marries one of the sons of the earth people who live in eternal daylight in Brazil. When her daughter longs to rest her eyes in the cool shadows of evening, Iemanji sends her the gift of darkness. Strong, intense, tropically colored illustrations vibrate with energy in this folktale that demonstrates the African connection to Brazil. An author's note explains the slavery connection between the countries and describes how a religion called Candomble (a complex set of African beliefs) is practiced in the northeast of Brazil.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In sure-footed prose brushed with delicate poetry, Gerson retells a Brazilian story of how night was brought to earth from the sea. Before the arrival of darkness there was ``only sunlight and brightness and heat.'' When a daughter of African goddess Iemanja leaves her ocean home to marry ``a son of the earth people,'' she sorely misses the cool cover of darkness, the shady mantle of dusk. Only a bag of night from her mother's kingdom can restore her happiness, and soon the earth people come to know the beauty of night. In her vivid narrative Gerson paints the welcome approach of darkness with such feeling that the perfume of night flowers seems to hover in the air. Golembe's (illustrator of Gerson's Why the Sky Is Far Away ) monotypes use brilliant colors to present an exotic landscape, a dramatic backdrop for her jet-black figures endowed with the nobility of gods. The underlying calm of these outwardly exuberant compositions gracefully reflects the story's movement from lightness to the coming of night. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The daughter of a sea goddess falls in love with a man and decides to live on the land. The unending daylight is hard for her to bear and she craves the cool darkness of the deep. Her husband sends his servants to the sea goddess to get some darkness for his wife. The servants let night out of the bag and the sea goddess' daughter calmed them and added the morning star and other gifts to celebrate the ending of night and the dawning of day. The unique pictures incorporate both painting and printmaking to create a delightful tale of how and why night came to be.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-From Brazil with its long seacoast, hot days, and African ancestry comes this pourquoi tale explaining how night was born. As they did with Why the Sky Is Far Away (Little, 1992), Gerson and Golembe have produced a stunningly crafted book. Readers meet the daughter of the great African sea goddess lemanj and learn of her marriage to a mortal. The young woman loves her husband and his bright shimmering land even though it has no moonbeams, no starlight-no night. But eventually the sight of field workers stooped over day after hot day ``hurt her eyes and her heart.'' She longs for the gifts of her mother's kingdom: the quiet and dark from the ocean's depths, and what follows explains how night came to the land. Golembe uses a kind of printmaking that resembles etching or lithography-the flat surface being Plexiglas on which oils are painted and tranferred to paper. When dry they can be reworked with pastels, gouache, or colored pencils. The result is brilliant, intense double-page spreads with white text on dark backgrounds, black on light. Bright colors are used effectively everywhere. In an author's note, Gerson explains the origin of her retelling and a little of the history of slavery and African religions in Brazil. (One must wonder, though, why the story includes a tiger, an animal not found in Brazil.) Handsomely, dramatically, and effectively illustrated and told, this story from ``long, long ago'' has both sensitivity and suspense. If picture-book illustrations can be works of art, this is a masterpiece.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
Hazel Rochman
What if there were no night? The daughter of the African sea goddess, Iemanja, leaves her home under the deep ocean and comes to live with her husband in the land of daylight. She loves her new home, but the unchanging brightness wearies her. Watching people work without rest "hurt her eyes and her heart." She longs for the cool shadows and dark quiet of her mother's kingdom,so Iemanja sends the gift of darkness to her daughter and the daylight people. In a number of source notes, Gerson describes Brazil's historical connection to Africa and explains that she has added the West African Iemanja to a retelling of a Brazilian fairy tale. It's a beautiful story, lyrically told, in some ways reminiscent of the myth of Persephone and the seasons, celebrating the necessary rhythm of evening and morning, shadow and light, rest and activity. The illustrations have the same glowing combination of painting and printmaking that Golembe used for Gerson's "Why the Sky Is Far Away" (1992), with bright tropical colors, bold jet-black figures, and a rhythmic composition that celebrates work and carnival as well as rest and darkness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316308557
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
09/01/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
30
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.40(d)

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