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A retelling of part of a Navajo creation and evolution myth in which of all ...
A retelling of part of a Navajo creation and evolution myth in which of all the animals the lowly snail alone is responsible for bringing pure water to the new land.
The first people have no water; different animals volunteer to go back to the underworld and fetch some, but all of them fail and all are punished; only the snail succeeds in bringing back one drop of water. From this drop, First Man makes a river. This is truly a new world, and the gouache illustrations live up to all the expectations raised by Jackson (Brown Cow, Green Grass, Yellow Mellow Sun, 1995, etc.) in her fluid, haunting text (for which she provides sources in her author's note). The palette is dominated by the warm orange-yellows of the desert and the cool green-blues of the ocean; what is singular about Hubbard's style is the idiosyncratic shapes into which all the creatures are transformed—oddly flat and amorphous and then shaded to give the effect of wafer-like thickness. These colorful, swirling compositions and the eloquent text will surely enrapture readers and listeners alike.