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The Lizard and the Sun

Region: Latin America, Mexico


Authors: Alma Flor Ada  

Original Language: Spanish

Translator: Rosalma Zubizarreta 

Illustrator: Felipe Dávalos 

Genre: Folktales

Descriptors: Animals, ancient cities; ancient peoples; celebrations; lizards; magic; quests. 

Age: 8-12 years old


The Lizard and the Sun, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Felipe Dávalos, is a magical story about a lizard’s relentless search for the sun. In an ancient pyramid city located in Mexico, the sun disappeared from the sky. Birds search the sky, the fish search the lakes, and the jaguars search the forests to no avail. Eventually the animals and the people of the city give up on their search. The emerald-colored lizard was the only one who had faith that she would one day find the sun. On a trip through the rocks, the lizard finds an enchanting glowing rock. Without hesitation, she scurries to the emperor of the city. The emperor enlists the help of the woodpecker to break through the rock’s surface. Inside the rock is the sun, fast asleep. The three try their best to wake up the sleeping sun but cannot get him to leave his rock. Finally, the emperor has an idea, the city residents entice the sun out of his hibernation with a grand party filled with music and dance. The sun rises in the sky, content with the party planned just for him. This folktale explains to readers why ancient peoples allocated special time to celebrate the sun, because they knew that without it, life would cease to exist. Alma Flor Ada’s picture book has several appealing elements, such as the art and language. Most of the book takes place in the dark, as there is no sun. However, the illustrations remain vibrant and detailed. The landscape, the animals, and the traditional clothes of the people all create a sense of place and realism within the story. Furthermore, the writing on each page utilizes descriptive sentences and complex vocabulary, making this story appropriate for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Additionally, the side-by-side Spanish and English translations are great for children who wish to learn either English or Spanish. Finally, Ada’s picture book has been published in a print copy so that children everywhere can appreciate the importance of the sun.

More About This Book

Reviewed: print book by Dragonfly Books (1997). ISBN 9780440415312. 48 p.

Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez 

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