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From School Library Journal

“Hutash the earth goddess creates the Chumash people, helps them to obtain fire, and sends them from Limuw (Santa Cruz Island) across the Santa Barbara channel to the mainland so that they will have room to flourish. Hutash makes a rainbow as a bridge for the crossing, but some of the people look down and, dizzy, fall into the sea.

The young boy who has been the goddess’s messenger is among them, but Hutash changes him and the others into dolphins so that their lives are saved, and “…the dolphins of the sea are brothers and sisters of their tribe.” This lesser-known Native American legend, with its strong female power and message of unity in nature, is attractive in itself, but it has been given truly compelling illustrations. At first, they appear to be magically enhanced, slightly surreal photographs. Florczak paints with layers of translucent oil glazes, painstakingly creating a lucidity of detail and super realistic surface textures of skin, rock, water, cloth, cloud and, above all, light. Dramatic shadow, pellucid atmosphere, and iridescent color suggest Caravaggio crossed with Maxfield Parrish. The natural scenery is stunning. California poppies and Chumash basketry are juxtaposed with the intricate, Baroque folds of Hutash’s swirling shawl. Dynamic pictures and an unusual story set this volume apart from the familiar run of Native American tales.”

-Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George’s School, Newport, RI

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