Reviewed by Beatriz Pascual Wallace, Children's Librarian, Seattle Public Library, WA
According to popular speculation, the ancient Mayan calendar indicates the world will end in 2012. Rosalba, a nine-year-old Mayan girl, has never heard of the prophecy, until she meets Alicia whose scientist father is studying frogs in the area. Rosalba doubts Alicia’s claims about the prophecy but also witnesses that frogs are dying, the cornfields suffer from lack of rain, and a new road project will forever impact her remote Mexican village. Paralleling Rosalba’s story is that of a 13-year-old shaman from 600 AD. He foresees the world’s future environmental destruction and sends Rosalba a vision, which inspires her to do what she can to help avert catastrophe. Marsden’s sophisticated narrative will challenge avid readers who have an interest in the Maya, and tying the prophecy to environmental concerns provides timely food for thought. It’s a more daunting book however for lesser-skilled readers who will struggle to maintain interest. Includes a Spanish and Mayan glossary, and an author’s note on the Mayan calendar. Recommended with reservations.
Starfields. Carolyn Marsden. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011. 224 pp. $15.99 (Hardcover) ISBN 978-0-7636-4820-6. Grades 5 up. English with some Spanish and Mayan.