Night Dancer

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9780439352482: Night Dancer
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A lyrical picture book poem featuring Kokopelli, the beloved humpbacked southwestern Native American god.

This lyrical poem follows Kokopelli, the god of dance and music, as he travels through the moonlit desert playing his flute and inviting the desert animals to join in his dance. Coyote, Snake, Tortoise, Javelina, Jackrabbit, Tarantula, and the sleeping children of a nearby pueblo accept his invitation, and joyously follow this pied piper of the Rio Grande in his midnight dance.

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Review:

Introducing the mythical Kokopelli, Vaughan (Kissing Coyotes) takes readers on an exhilarating moonlit dance amid luminescent desert arroyos, canyons and cacti. Here the supernatural songman of Native American legend, whom the author calls "the pied piper of the Rio Grande," leads a parade of desert creatures across spreads bathed in the indigo and purple hues of night. Desimini's (Tulip Sees America) computer-enhanced mixed-media art features ribbons of shimmery, pastel light to represent the music that streams from Kokopelli's flute. As he beckons, captivated desert animals fall in one by one to dance behind him, all of them standing upright as if human. Kokopelli's playful, rhythmic refrain calls Coyote, Snake, Tortoise, Javelina, Jackrabbit, Tarantula and, finally, the children of the pueblo; each verse's second line changes to foreshadow the next animal to join in (e.g., "Come dance, come dance, come dance with me/ Sliding and gliding gleefully./ Like the stars and the wind, happy and free,/ Who'll dance away the night with me?" presages Snake's appearance). Desimini's keen use of color and light effects a dreamlike, movie stills quality. Hot pink cactus flowers and a brilliant full moon add an electric spark to the shadowy nocturnal palette. An author's note explores the importance of Kokopelli among the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo peoples.--Publishers Weekly, October 14th, 2002

Kokopelli is featured in this lyrical adventure set in the Southwest. On a moonlit night, the humpbacked flute player goes out to gather the desert creatures: "Come dance, come dance, come dance with me/Stepping and stamping joyously./Like the stars and the wind, happy and free,/Who'll dance away the night with me?" One by one, various animals join the dance-coyote, rattlesnake, tortoise, javelina, jackrabbit, tarantula-answering the refrain of Kokopelli's ever-changing song. The children of the pueblo are the last to join the procession. When the sun comes up, Kokopelli plays one last tune as the participants turn toward home. Desimini tackles several tough assignments: drawing Kokopelli, usually seen as a two-dimensional stick figure, as a fully realized human; animating the drawings to convey the spirit of the dance; and showing the entire adventure in the dark of night. She depicts the line of dancers against blue/purple backgrounds in a silvery moonlit glow, with shimmering auroras of light streaming from the mythological creature's flute. Kokopelli has a wise face but the rest of him is left undetailed. Some of the spreads are more effective than others, just as some of the rhymes succeed and some are awkward. An additional purchase.--School Library Journal, October 1st 2002

Beneath a huge full moon, the hunchbacked flute player Kokopelli steps down from a petroglyph and dances across an atmospherically lit desert, drawing Coyote, Rattler, and other creatures to dance along behind. His compelling music swirls out to catch human children from the pueblo too: "Kokopelli spins with a step and a hop. / Whirling and twirling to the mesa top. / Cacti sway. Shadows play. / Dancers dance the night away." Vaughan (We're Going on a Ghost Hunt, not reviewed, etc.) envisions Kokopelli, who figures in the mythology of the Hopi, Zuni, and Pueblo people, as the "pied piper of the Rio Grande." Desimini's magical, moonlit scene has him capering across a suitably timeless, mysterious setting, then lets him and his music drift away on the morning wind with the promise that "when the moon shines bright, I'll dance again." A haunting introduction to this eldritch musician for younger children, and a good prelude for older ones to Malotki's Kokopelli: The Making of an Icon (2000).--Kirkus Reviews, September 15th, 2002

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4-Kokopelli is featured in this lyrical adventure set in the Southwest. On a moonlit night, the humpbacked flute player goes out to gather the desert creatures: "Come dance, come dance, come dance with me/Stepping and stamping joyously./Like the stars and the wind, happy and free,/Who'll dance away the night with me?" One by one, various animals join the dance-coyote, rattlesnake, tortoise, javelina, jackrabbit, tarantula-answering the refrain of Kokopelli's ever-changing song. The children of the pueblo are the last to join the procession. When the sun comes up, Kokopelli plays one last tune as the participants turn toward home. Desimini tackles several tough assignments: drawing Kokopelli, usually seen as a two-dimensional stick figure, as a fully realized human; animating the drawings to convey the spirit of the dance; and showing the entire adventure in the dark of night. She depicts the line of dancers against blue/purple backgrounds in a silvery moonlit glow, with shimmering auroras of light streaming from the mythological creature's flute. Kokopelli has a wise face but the rest of him is left undetailed. Some of the spreads are more effective than others, just as some of the rhymes succeed and some are awkward. An additional purchase.
Sally Bates Goodroe, formerly at Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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