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Elbl, Martin and J.T. Winik.

Illustrated by Gerda Neubacher. Burlington (Ont.), Hayes Publishing. c1986. 32pp, paper-bound boards, $9.95.

Grades 1-4
Reviewed by Joanne Robertson

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

In Tales From the Amazon, Gerda Neubacher, an internationally recognized artist of collectors' plates, again turns her brush to illustrating a children's book. In 1983, she received the Children's Book Centre Choice Award for her illustrations in Tales From the Beechy Woods. Her richly-coloured illustrations are so realistic and detailed that you feel you can walk into them. They add not only to the atmosphere of the legends, but also to the information to be gleaned from them.

Three legends have been adapted by Martin Elbl and J.T. Winik for Tales from the Amazon. “The Man Who Married a Star” tells of die tragic love between a young hunter and a beautiful star. They retreat to the skies and thus create a new constellation. The second legend, "Why the Old Never Crow Young." is the story of Veji, a young witch doctor, who goes on a quest for the secret of youth. "The Sun, the Moon and the Rain" explains how these elements came to take their places in our world and how the Indian people came to be divided into different tribes.

The writing style and the illustrations combine to produce a vibrant atmosphere. We are given the impression that these stories have been passed down orally through the generations and are being retold to us. Some of the language and sentence structure may be a little difficult for younger readers, although they should be able to understand the main ideas of the legends. Recommended.

Joanne Robertson, Dauphin, Man.
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