Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky by David Bowles | SLJ Review

Gr 7 Up –A collection of Mesoamerican mythology chronologically recounts the origins of the world up to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in Mexico.

redstarBOWLES, David , retel. Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico. 368p. bibliog. glossary. notes. Cinco Puntos. May 2018. Tr $24.30. ISBN 9781941026717; pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781941026724.

Gr 7 Up –A collection of Mesoamerican mythology chronologically recounts the origins of the world up to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in Mexico. Each chapter of Bowles’s electrifying text begins with a convocation, in which the author explains the sources for his reworked tales, including the Popol Vuh, Florentine Codex, and the Codex Chimalpopoca, among others, coalesced to celebrate the connections in Mesoamerican history and storytelling traditions. Bowles adopts a narrative voice biblical in tone and scope but vibrant and lucid enough to appeal to an adolescent audience. The tales, filled with beautiful imagery and stark depictions of violence, feature a wealth of themes, including dualities in nature (all mankind arose from the “dual god”), rebirth, and the roles of women, making this title ripe for analysis and group discussions or self-exploration, as the reteller implores in his introduction. Also included in each chapter are codex-inspired illustrations that honor such artistry and align this collection along the same record keeping tradition. In addition to the back matter, there is also a pronunciation guide. VERDICT Vibrant and vital, this collection is an essential addition to library collections.–Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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