The ancient Mayan belief that the future was divinely decreed and could not be changed is the basis for this original tale of a boy who must defeat the Rain God in a ball game to save his people from disaster. Mayan art and architecture were the inspiration for the spectacular cut-paper artwork.
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David Wisniewski (wiz-NESS-key) was born in Middlesex, England, in 1953. After training at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he spent three years as a clown, designing and constructing his own props, costumes, and gags. He was subsequently hired by his future wife, Donna, as a performer with a traveling puppet theatre. Married six months later, the Wisniewskis started their own troupe, Clarion Shadow Theatre, specializing in shadow puppetry. In the course of creating the plays, puppets, and projected scenery, Mr. Wisniewski evolved the storytelling techniques and art skills that eventually led to his picture books with their unique cut-paper illustrations. His retelling of GOLEM was awarded the 1997 Caldecott Medal. David Wisniewski died in 2002 in the Maryland home he shared with his wife and two children.From School Library Journal:
Grade 1 Up-- An unusual story of a young Mayan ballplayer who, defying the priest's prophecy of a drought to come in the year ahead, challenges the rain god (Chac) to a game of pok-a-tok (a Mayan basketball/soccer game played on an outdoor court). Equipping himself with the speed of a jaguar (sacred animal to his people), the strength of a beautiful long-plumed Quetzal, and the hidden power of a sacred underground spring, the boy outperforms Chac. The god rewards him by sending gentle showers after his victories on the court. Wisniewski's exquisitely rendered cut-paper illustrations--more intricately crafted than those he created for The Warrior and The Wise Man (Lothrop, 1989)--contain depth and shadows, giving the appearance of an action-filled play. Their harmonious hues are those of the natural world that is the basis of Mayan existence: the browns, grays, and terra cottas of the earth; the blues of the sky and water; the ochres of the sun; and the greens of the foliage. In several places, though, the story skips from one scene to the next, as if the text were written to support the illustrations. Nevertheless, the great beauty of the volume and its lessons on Mayan culture make it a unique and worthwhile purchase. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Clarion Books, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. childs/ oversized hard back book New . Unmarked*gr/grey. Bookseller Inventory # 100913029
Book Description Clarion Books, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0395551129
Book Description Clarion Books, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110395551129