This traditional story begins with a woman working in the fields with her two children near-by. As the rain began to fall, the water rose, and the woman became worried about the safety of her children. She was forced to take her two children and seek refuge in the limbs of a cypress tree. Eventually the rain stopped, but the wind continued to blow. She prayed to the moon to help her find a way to keep her children warm. As she and her children slept, the moon spoke to stars, which spoke to clouds, which spoke to wind. The wind stopped, and the moon wove a blanket from the clouds. When the woman awoke, she and her children were covered by the moon's gift, Spanish moss. This Native American story is colorfully illustrated and suitable to be read aloud to children. The author has also provided a brief personal antidote about hearing the story for the first time and her experiences as a child collecting Spanish moss near her childhood home. 2003, Pelican, 14.95. Ages 3 to 9.
K-Gr 3-In this picture-book debut, St. Romain relays a Native American tale from Louisiana concerning the origin of Spanish moss. During a flood, a mother guides her son and daughter to safety in the branches of a cypress tree. Although removed from the dangers of the rising water, they are still plagued by the chill of the wind and rain, so the mother beseeches the moon for help. By morning, a soft moss blanket, woven from clouds, covers the threesome. While this book may have local interest, neither the telling nor the watercolor illustrations make it a first purchase for libraries farther afield. The tale does not develop interest in the family before the crisis; thus, page after page of bedraggled, pouting figures, paired with the relentless repetition of the narrative, becomes monotonous.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
St. Romain, in her first published work, shows that she is a master storyteller with this Native American legend from Louisiana. During a flood, a woman and her children seek refuge in the giant cypress trees of the bayou. High in the branches the three cling together for warmth as night arrives and the moon comes out. Fearing that they will freeze to death, the woman implores the moon to help them, and she does. By drawing clouds near her and weaving all night, the moon fashions the most fragile of blankets with which to cover the family and keeps them warm until the flood finally recedes and the family is able to go home. Over the years, the moon's blanket is taken to other locations and becomes known as Spanish moss. No documentation is given for Waites's depiction of furry-looking garments and shoes worn by each of the family members or for the palmetto hut depicted as round, but without the willow or cypress poles normally thought to have supported the rounded roof of palmetto fronds and grass rope. While this is a straightforward telling that will engage the reader over and over again, the watercolor illustrations, while adequate, are not of the same stellar quality. An optional purchase for most libraries. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)