School Library Journal - School Library Journalea. vol: illus. by retel. unpaged. CIP. Bedrick, dist. by Harper. Apr. 1986. PSm $10.95. Gr 1-3 In the first of these pourquoi stories, the trickster Rabbit steals fire from the Sky People. The tale tells how the fire affected each animal: the crow turned black from the smoke, the raccoon's tail developed ash rings, and the deer's long tail burned nearly off. At last fire comes to rest in the birch trees, which form the background for many of Troughton's illustrations. Rabbit then shows the animals how to rub sticks together and call forth the fire hidden there. While the illustrations owe little to Native American artistic tradition, Troughton places images as if designing tapestry, and they have their own distinct charm. The Tortoise's Dream, a Bantu tale, tells how Tortoise found a tree on which grew all of the fruits of the earth. While other animals had searched, they forgot to follow Grandmother Koko's warning not to look back. Thus, they forget the tree's true name, Omumbo-rombonga, as they stumble and crash about the plain. Since the steady tortoise, undistractable, does not look around, he is able to find the tree and call down the fruit. Children will enjoy the SPLASH and SPLAT that precedes each animal's fall and their humorous garblings of the magical name. Troughton's use of yellows and greens are especially effective in portraying the grassy plain. The watercolor and fine-line illustrations can be seen even by a large story hour group. Susan Hepler, Windsor Public Library, Conn.
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