Awards and Distinctions:
Américas Commended Book
A mysterious and captivating tale explaining the origins of lightning. Something unearthly happens when a boy enters a forbidden cave, and no curandero can change him back to what he was. Only the nahual, a shape-changing magic worker, holds out hope: “You are destined to show the world something new.” Twenty years later, the young man now known as “Uncle Snake” finds out what that glorious something is.
The Story Begins:
“Long ago, before there was lightning, stormy nights stayed as black as pitch. Thunder crackled, rain clouds burst. And one fearless boy would run outside to play. Up and down hills, he ran as swiftly as wind.
Once while it stormed, he found villagers gathered before a cave. Strange lights flickered from the cave, and people heard hissing and rattling from within. ‘That cave has an awful power,’ warned the boy’s father. ‘Don’t go in, or you may never come out.’
But the warning only made the boy curious, and one day he decided to sneak inside. The air in the cavern smelled damp and stale. Eyes peered out from among the rocks. The boy heard rattling above and below. Suddenly…”
What Others Say:
“A wonderful original folktale…filled with curanderos, snakes and fiesta dances.”
—School Library Journal
“A captivating tale, the resolution of which will bedazzle even the most impatient readers.”
“Richly complex…illustrations, this pourquoi tale is spooky and dramatically compelling.”
“Stunning glazed watercolor illustrations on textured, bordered paper. Visually arresting.”
—Contra Costa Times
“Poetic and challenging text…Highly recommended.”
—Sonoma Country Independent