From Publishers Weekly
As with last year's Caldecott honor book, The Village of Round and Square Houses, this is a beautifully evocative tale of childhood in an African tribal setting. Through vivid color paintings and a well-paced narrative, Grifalconi relates the tale of Osa, an adventurous girl plagued by an excessive fear of the dark. One day, Osa discovers the house of the Wise Womana healer with the power to explain dreams. When the Wise Woman remarks on Osa's brave climb to the top of a high ladder, Osa confesses, "I'm not so brave . . .not at night!" The Wise Woman points out a small yellow butterfly to the child: "Darkness pursues her tooyet She flies on!" Osa falls into a deep sleep and dreams that she has become a butterfly. When she awakens in the Wise Woman's lap, Osa knows the dream has changed her. The story and paintings are suffused with love and warmth; they reassure with their universal appeal. This is a story to share. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1 In her African village little Osa is fearless, climbing ``even the big Baobab Tree''; but each nightfall she becomes paralyzed by fear. Then, while visiting the Wise Woman, Osa dreams that she turns into a butterfly and sees the light of the moon and stars. Realizing that ``the night was not really dark at all,'' she wakes to find her fear of the dark entirely gone. The honey-skinned child in her popsicle-pink shift is adorable, and the artwork is gorgeous: its colors are as radiant as stained glass, and a change in technique signals the dream-sequence. The plot, however, seems to be aimed at bibliotherapy, and to miss its goal widely. Osa's phobia is so severe that she, improbably, refuses food and comfort; butterflies are not nocturnal; discovering that the sky in the African bush isn't dark may help a fear of the night but hardly a fear of the dark (e.g., those shadows under one's bed); and Grifalconi seems to believe that ``being brave'' and ``not being afraid,'' are one and the same thing (they're not). The pictures are a treat, but the story leaves us still in the dark. Patricia Dooley, formerly at Drexel University, Phila .
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.