From School Library Journal
Grade 2-6–Inspired by Iroquois tales of the Corn Maiden and her sisters, this original story tells how Maize, Red Bean, and Pumpkin walked the earth spreading a bounty of food in their wake. Despite being warned to stay in the open fields under their mother's watchful gaze, Maize goes walking at night. Silver (alias the Moon) sees her and begs for her warmth, and Maize spends the night with him. When Sun finds Maize missing, she removes her other daughters and burns the earth with her furious gaze. The Sun then turns her face away and vows not to touch the earth until Maize returns. Only after the little pewee birds encourage the maples to "please weep" sweet sap does Silver compromise, allowing Maize half of the year in the Sun. The story is charmingly told with eloquent phrasing and vocabulary. The artwork, done in a folk-art style, is energetic and exuberant, and the brush strokes are used to dramatic effect across the spreads. This is both a pourquoi tale and a fable, and will work comfortably as a read-aloud.– Cris Riedel, Ellis B. Hyde Elementary School, Dansville, NY
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Gr. 2-4. Like the Greek myth of Persephone, this Native American pourquoi
tale attributes the seasonal cycles to a split-custody deal struck over a deity's hapless daughter. Described as an "original story" inspired by Iroquois sources, Sherman's telling features the Sun's daughter, Maize, who causes corn to grow so abundantly that "the people had only to reach up in order to eat." But when Maize disobediently ventures into the realm of an entity named Silver, she finds herself held hostage for half of every year. Silver's identity is confusing, as is his exact relationship to Maize (who, despite the disturbingly violent overtones of her kidnapping, is later described as returning to "her lover"); neither issue is addressed in the author's otherwise informative endnote. Christie's renderings intensify the sense of abstraction from reality common to folklore, setting puppetlike characters, faces comprised of slashing black lines, against jagged fields of harvest colors. Try this evocative, unusual offering with children older than the typical picture-book audience, particularly in the context of comparative studies of world folklore. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved