Kokopelli & the Butterfly
by Michael Sterns & Joseph V. Cioffi (Line drawings) Gayle Deal (Special Effects)
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
64 pages; ISBN: 0615123376
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Norman Goldman
Recently, I had the good fortune to attend a book reading of a children's book entitled KOKOPELLI & THE BUTTERFLY.
In this case, the story -teller was the author himself, Michael Sterns, whose animated reading of his book mesmerized adults and children alike.
First Nation's legendary character, KOKOPELLI, carries the torch of love, friendship and compassion from town to town until he is invited to view the prized possession of a Grand Chief: a rainbow colored butterfly in a prison with bars of bone. With his magical powers, KOKOPELLI liberates the dying butterfly causing an amazing transformation.
The exquisite illustrations executed in line drawings by Joseph V. Cioffi and special effects by Gayle Deal magically capture the love of Mother Earth by America's First People. As a footnote, it should be noted that the paintings are somewhat similar to the Pocahontas drawings, as the artists had worked at one time for Disney Studios.
The sides of the pictures are alternated so that if there is more than one child involved they may share equally in the reading experience, as Michael Sterns demonstrated so well during his lively performance.
Michael Sterns enchants his readership with his idealistic dreams of love, hope and compassion for all of mankind. The concepts of peace, conflict management, respect for Mother Earth and interpersonal relations are developed briefly in the upbeat narrative. Just enough to get children's imaginations fired up.
I had reservations about the wisdom of condensing so many subjects together in all their complexities in 62 illustrated pages of a fairy tale. However, KOKOPELLI & THE BUTTERFLY, a clearly written primer for young readers, went a long way towards assuaging my doubts. Michael Sterns's text is lively, direct and succeeds in explaining the basic dreams of love of mankind and the preservation of Mother Earth.
The book is not only a good bedtime read, but also teachers will have at their disposal a useful tool in order to initiate discussions about pollution love and respect for Mother Earth.
No doubt, KOKOPELLI & THE BUTTERFLY will act as an impetus in fueling the fire of imagination in creative writing and art for young and old alike; a pleasant change from the clicking fingers of video games, Internet and Television.
Conversing with author Michael Sterns after his performance, I was excited
to learn that he is preparing another KOKOPELLI adventure. Stay tuned!
The above review was contributed by Lily Azerad Goldman a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com
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