A Trickster Tale from Hawaii
McDermott continues his series of trickster tales with a simply told story about Kamapuaa, a popular figure in Hawaiian mythology. This little pig has a loving, nurturing human grandmother who wraps him in soft leaves and sings him to sleep with an empowering song about magic. "if trouble comes", she tells him, "just slip away". Pig-Boys hunger is immense. He eats all the roots in his grandmothers taro patch, then eats the kings chickens, divides himself into a hundred little piglets, and slips away. He looks to the goddess Pele for help, and when she rejects him, he shape-shifts into a pig-nosed fish and evades her, as well. Captured by the kings men, he again uses his powerful magic to escape and return to his dear grandmother. McDermott has omitted the torrid sexual relationship between Kamapuaa (in human form) and Pele that is an integral part of the traditional tale. Although this somewhat weakens the plot, it has allowed him to create a charming story that is clearly meant to be shared by adult and young child. Boldly colored gouache paintings on textured paper are softened with pastel and detailed with colored pencil. The purple trickster pig stands out against backgrounds of emerald green. People and chickens wear yellow-gold and orange, and the sea is a deep, bright blue. A note about the Pig-Boy character is included. This fine introduction to a classic Hawaiian trickster should have a place in most collections.
32 pp ~ illustrated — ©2009