This book began with acclaimed illustrator David Alvarez taking two characters from classic Mesoamerican lore — a rabbit associated with the moon and a silly opossum who bravely delivers the sun's fire to humans — and weaving their stories together in a new and timeless myth. Mexican American author and translator David Bowles wrote poetic lines to accompany the illustrations and story.

In a deep black night "at the start of things," we see Rabbit with her smooth silver-blue fur sipping light from a cup — the same light illuminating the nearly full moon. This light, we learn, is the precious, glowing aguamiel nectar "that brims in the heart of the first and holy maguey" — an agave plant whose sap is known for quenching thirst, providing energy, and healing ailments. Rabbit keeps the moon aglow by trekking "across the sea-ringed world," climbing down the trunk of the Great Ceiba, the World Tree, and bringing back to the moon a jug of this nectar.

Curious about the moon's brightening and dimming, Opossum hides until he catches sight of Rabbit's rounds. Wanting some nectar for himself, he cracks the moon's surface and inserts a long hose that siphons off this illuminating sap into his own jug.

What happens when he drinks the sacred substance and the sky goes dark? You and your children will need to read this magical book to find out, but you can trust that Opossum's mythical reputation for heroism is not forgotten and that he and Rabbit, rivals at the start, find their way to balance and friendship.

Two-pages from the book's creators round out this gem for four-to-eight-year-old readers by telling more about the Great Ceiba, the Rabbit and the Moon, Opossum and the Sun's Fire, Maguey and Aguamiel, and the process of Weaving Stories. "For thousands of years," Alvarez and Bowles write, "the peoples of Mesoamerica have retold these stories and many, many more, changing them bit by bit, adding and subtracting the ideas that matter to them."

This book felt to its creators "like imagining a much older version of their tales, something truly ancient, from a time long forgotten, when wise and foolish animals ruled the world, waiting for humans to finally emerge." We are sure that Ancient Night will be long remembered and treasured.