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by Margaret Read MacDonald

illustrated by Geraldo Valerio


School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 2 –Gecko is grumpy. The blinking lights of the fireflies fluttering outside his house are keeping him awake. Desperate for sleep, he trudges to the village chief’s house and pleads with him to do something. Elephant promises to speak with the fireflies in the morning and Gecko drags himself home. When asked about their nocturnal activity, the fireflies explain that they need to light up the village path so everyone can see Buffalo’s poop. That night, they blink their lights again, and Gecko returns to Elephant’s house. Elephant explains that he talked to Buffalo, who “fills up the holes that Rain washes out,” and to the fireflies, urging them to continue blinking their lights. This nightly ritual continues, with Gecko appealing to Elephant until he realizes that he would not have any mosquitoes to eat if the natural cycle of life were to be interrupted. Accepting the fact that some things are just the way they are, the lizard is able to sleep peacefully once again. MacDonald’s lyrical language and use of repetition help bring this folktale to life. There is just the right touch of humor in both the text and the art. The pacing is perfectly matched to the richly colored acrylic illustrations. The night scenes are luminescent with glowing fireflies and a midnight blue, starry sky. This tale can be shared one-on-one but will shine as a read-aloud.–Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN –Wendy Woodfill (Reviewed October 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 10, p138)


  • Flicker Tale Children’s Book  Award (North Dakota): Non-Fiction Books


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, Ages 0-8, Folklore, Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten