"Alaska's Mount Susitna is the inspiration for this affecting pourquoi story with a pacifist twist. News of fierce Northern warriors disrupt the wedding plans of Nekatla and Susitna, two of the ``race of giant people [dwelling] along the shores of Cook Inlet'' during its halcyon times. Nekatla, determined to teach the invaders peace, sets out to meet them, leaving his intended behind to gather fruit, weave baskets and sew until his return. Wearied as the days pass, Susitna slumbers; the women who bring the news that her lover and his party have been slaughtered choose not to rouse her, their tears rising to form the world's first snowclouds. Only the coming of peaceful ways will awaken Susitna, now a mountain known as ``the Sleeping Lady.'' Though this story's origin remains uncertain (possible sources are noted in the author's afterword), Dixon's serene presentation resonates with the simplicity of a Native American legend. Johns's oil paintings are an apt complement, their handsome, ethnic-appearing characters and reverence for the land adding drama and atmosphere. Especially striking are the illustrations' thematic borders, which subtly reflect the story's changing moods. All ages. (Oct.)"