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Once when the World Was Green

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A stunning original story of jsutice plays out in a magical--and dangerous--world when Corn Grower takes the fur of coati, the feathers of quetzal, and the shell of tortoise for his own greedy purposes. Neither wife, Moon Sun, nor baby, Small Ears, will be safe again until he makes up for his terrible deeds. Full color.

When his vanity and greed cause him to needlessly kill animals, Corn Grower almost loses his precious life with ...

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Overview

A stunning original story of jsutice plays out in a magical--and dangerous--world when Corn Grower takes the fur of coati, the feathers of quetzal, and the shell of tortoise for his own greedy purposes. Neither wife, Moon Sun, nor baby, Small Ears, will be safe again until he makes up for his terrible deeds. Full color.

When his vanity and greed cause him to needlessly kill animals, Corn Grower almost loses his precious life with his wife, Moon-Sun, and their son, Small Ears.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inspired by the symbols and themes of the Mayan "bible," the Popol Vuh, Wahl (Little Eight John) concocts a lyrical but somewhat arbitrarily structured fable that unfolds in a south-of-the-border, Eden-like setting. When Corn Grower succumbs to the temptation of killing animals solely for personal adornment, eagles carry off his son, Small Ears, seemingly to prevent the child from following in his father's ruthless footsteps. The point is murky, however, since the child's eventual return is occasioned not by the father's reform but by happenstance (the eagles finally grow frustrated trying to raise a wingless child). Vandenbroeck's (The Mouse Bride) luminous, atmospheric and abundantly green illustrations recall a primordial time when animals dominated the earth. Even without a particularly substantial story, the textual and visual imagery transports the reader to a mysterious, mythical place. Ages 7-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This original story tells the consequences of greed, vanity and violence. What makes it unusual is the setting. The author has placed it in a Mayan environment and states that it is faithful to the symbols and themes in the Popol Vuh, the "bible" of the Mayan people. The illustrations truly complement and enhance this mythical story, but some may be upsetting to very young children.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3Drawing on symbols found in the Mayan Popul Vuh, Wahl has created an original fable about a man who takes more than he needs from the natural world and must pay the consequences. The story begins with the first family living in their own version of Eden: Moon-Sun (woman), Corn Grower (man), and Small Ears (their infant son). Corn Grower grows jealous of the animals and kills a coati for its fur, a quetzal for its feathers, a turtle for its shell, and an armadillo to make a guitar. Lord Eagle is horrified and steals Small Ears so that the child might be raised properly, and an angry Corn Grower follows in pursuit. But on the way, the man realizes his foolishness and goes home to his grieving wife and a now-barren world. Eagle returns the boynot because the humans have become wiser, but because Mrs. Eagle says, "This one will never be ours. We must push it from the nest." With Small Ears's return, the land is fertile once again. Vandenbroeck uses the geography and animals of Central America as elements in the somewhat surreal, translucent, deeply colored double-page spreads created with acrylics and colored pencils on texturized paper. Despite its clear ecological message and upbeat hopeful ending, this story is flawed by the illogical flow of events.Sally Bates Goodroe, Houston Public Library
Susan Dove Lempke
In this original tale, a Mayan husband and wife are happy living with their child under a blossoming Great Tree, with the humans and the "beasts of the earth and fish of the sea and birds of the air in perfect harmony." But when it suddenly occurs to the father, Corn Grower, that it is unfair for a coati to have fine fur, and a quetzal beautiful plumage, he kills them both and makes a cloak for himself. His destructiveness continues until Lord and Lady Eagle swoop down and take his son to raise themselves, leaving Corn Grower and Moon-Sun heartbroken until the son's eventual return. Vandenbroeck uses rich, enticing colors to show the beauty of the land and creatures, and the contrasting picture showing the Great Tree after Corn Grower's evil deed, as it stands over barren ground covered with bats, makes a powerful statement.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883672126
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.67 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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