review: Moon Over the Mountain
Moon Over the Mountain/Luna Sobre La Montana by Keith Polette. Illustrated by Michael Kress-Russick. Raven Tree, 2009 (978-1-932748-85-7) $16.95
A traditional Asian folk tale about a man who seeks greater and greater power is dressed up here with a southwestern setting, embedded Spanish, and some very eye-catching illustrations.
Agipito is a poor stonecutter who must work very hard cutting piedras. One day Agipito wishes he could be a rich merchant; the Spirit of the Desert grants his wish and he wakes up as a comerciante rico. Agipito is contento... until he notices how much stronger the sun is.
I appreciate multilingual books with embedded language and this one is well done, with the words always following an introduction of the English, for clarity. "Day after day, he cut out stones for large houses and churches. Many casas grandes and iglesias were built with these piedras. (The Spanish words are printed in red.) The book would be enjoyable just for the text, but it's the illustrations that really make it -- rich, bold, expressive depictions of Agipito as el sol, el viento and la gran montana.
I was bothered by the book's ending, which disrupts the obvious circular nature of the story for a puzzling happy ending that rings false. It's still a good choice for readers looking for this type of book.
© 2011 Wendy E. Betts
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