The Great Canoe

The Great Canoe

Groundwood Books, Toronto, Canada, 2001

From Publishers Weekly Calderon's intricately textured woodcuts enliven a Kari?a (an indigenous people who occupied eastern Venezuela on the Orinoco River) version of the Great Flood. Here, the "Sky Dweller" Kaputano prophesies the dreadful storm. Most of his listeners ridicule his predictions, but four couples join Kaputano in building a giant thatch-roofed canoe, filling it with "two of each kind of animal" and "a seed from each kind of plant." Unlike the dutiful Noah and his family, Kaputano's passengers complain about the barren world that remains after the floodwaters recede. "Where are the groves of palms whose leaves we weave into baskets and roofs? Where are the mountains on whose slopes we grow food?" Kaputano obliges his people with abundance, and the story ends happily with a moonlit dance. Calderon's (Buzz, Buzz, Buzz) gently tinted woodcuts, layered with a multitude of delicately etched lines depicting raging waves, sheets of rain and rays of sun, anchor the scenes firmly in the dramatic landscape. A striking image shows the canoe from the air, with the four couples hard at work around it, smoke billowing from the reed fire meant to hollow it out. First-time author Maggi provides a respectful retelling, and Calderon's work makes an exotic world seem close enough to touch. Ages 2-5. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Available from: Amazon