Rooster / Gallo

author: Jorge Luján 
illustrator: Manuel Monroy 
translator: Elisa Amado 
Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2004 

El gallo abre su pico
y sale el sol.
El sol abre su mano
y nace el día.
El día se asombra cuando la noche
tiende su capa y la colma de estrellas
para que coma el gallo
y vuelva transparente
al nuevo día.
The rooster opens its beak
and up comes the sun.
The sun opens its hand
and the day is born.
The day is surprised when night
spreads its cloak and fills it with stars
that the rooster can eat
and so clear the sky for
a new day.
With only three lyrical sentences, this elegant, simple yet complex poem about the diurnal round brings to life all of the aspects of day and night. Here, all have volition and all cooperate for the greater good of the whole: Rooster pulls in his blanket of clouds to bring in the sun, who opens its hand to bring forth the day, who is surprised at the advent of night, who brings forth the stars for Rooster to eat and clear the sky for a new day.

Monroy’s striking images of bright and muted watercolors on a palette of blues, browns, golds and greens darken as night approaches and lighten at daybreak; he masterfully depicts Rooster sometimes as a weathervane, sometimes in the shape of a cloud, sometimes bringing in the day, and sometimes spreading his cloak to release the stars. The design, which forefronts Luján’s original Spanish in large red letters, is followed by the English translation below in smaller black or blue type that contrasts with the background.

Written in Spanish and beautifully translated into English, Rooster / Gallo is a brilliant little book with a large meaning. For babies, children and adults to enjoy at their own levels of understanding, it’s highly recommended.   

—Beverly Slapin
(published 8/7/16) 


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