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Dwarf-Wizard of Uxmal

Dwarf-Wizard of Uxmal

by Susan Hand Shetterly, Robert Shettly (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- This is a lengthy, illustrated retelling, in five chapters, of a Yucatan Mayan hero legend. A tiny dwarf is hatched from an egg and raised by a reclusive old woman. On his 15th birthday, the old woman instructs the boy, Tol, to challenge the leader of the city of Uxmal. Aided by magic, he does, fulfilling an ancient prophesy. This telling is steeped in ritual and ceremonial lore, using animals, foods, and dress to enrich the sense of locale and culture. The story should engage the interest of children who enjoy more protracted tales; the vivid imagery of its words recommends it for reading aloud. The illustrations, however, seem at odds with the dignified text. The central character is hunchbacked, bucktoothed, slackskinned, tiny-eyed. The other people appear as caricature versions of ancient Mayan art, with large lips, cheeks, and bellies, and enormous hooked noses. Rather than inviting a sympathetic response, the pictures seem to aim for a low form of humor by churlishly invoking a stylized art form. This implication of cultural disparity in the illustrations distances readers from the story. --Susan H. Patron, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
10.63(w) x 8.66(h) x (d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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