About this deal
He attended the University of Maryland, College Park but quit after one semester to join the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, graduating in 1973. He worked for several years as a clown before moving to Maryland and joining the Prince George's Country Puppet Theatre where he met his wife Donna Harris. In 1980, they started the Clarion Puppet Theatre (later known as the Clarion Shadow Theatre) which toured in schools, theaters and at the Smithsonian. After his children were born, he become a full-time author/ illustrator, using layers of cut paper to illustrate children's books. His book Golem, won the 1997 Caldecott Medal. 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. This is a good re-telling of a myth, but the pictures are simply AMAZING! It is truly astounding how much life and movement and expression and action and detail the author archived with an exacto knife and construction paper.
Summary: A book based on Ancient Mayan belief that the future cannot be changed. This boy, Pik, must defeat the Rain God in a ball game to keep a disaster from occurring. This medium term plan is based on Rain Player by David Wisniewski. The ancient Mayan tale of a boy who must defeat the Rain God in a game of pok-a-tok to save his village from a terrible drought. Great for linking to a topic on the ancient Maya civilization.This feel-good story of a mortal besting a god is overshadowed by Wisniewski's astounding artwork - layers and layers of cut paper make this:
What might it have been like to have been Mayan? Or to have lived under their accurately abnormal calendar? Although not fully giving the reader a true sense of Mayan identity it is a good stepping stone for those who may be interested or those who need a bit of a cultural change in their reading no matter what their age may be.I do want to give a warning to adult readers though. Although the illustrations aren't your normal type they do have a dark and somewhat intimidating side to them. Really young children who are susceptible to nightmares may be better steered away from the book until they are older and better able to take it into concept since the artwork can be truly scary-like.