The girl who helped thunder, and other Native American folktales

James Bruchac

Book - 2008

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New York : Sterling Pub. Co c2008.
Main Author
James Bruchac (-)
Other Authors
Joseph Bruchac, 1942- (-), Stefano Vitale (illustrator)
Physical Description
96 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 94-96).
  • Northeast : How stories came to be (Seneca)
  • The girl who helped Thunder (Lenape)
  • Maushop, the good giant (Wampanoag)
  • Southeast : The ball game between the birds and animals (Cherokee)
  • Turtle's race with Wolf (Seminole)
  • How Rabbit got wisdom (Creek)
  • The coming of corn (Choctaw)
  • Great Plains : The sister and her seven brothers (Cheyenne)
  • How the buffalo came to be (Lakkota)
  • Old Man and the rolling rock (Blackfeet)
  • The bear man (Pawnee)
  • Southwest : How people came to the upper world (Hopi)
  • The hero twins (Navajo)
  • Why Moon has one eye (Isleta Pueblo)
  • California : Moon and Frog Old Woman (Maidu )
  • The story of Tu-tok-a-nu-la (Miwok)
  • How Earth Elder made the acorn tree (Pomo)
  • Why Owl lives away from the people (Wiyot)
  • Northwest : How the drum came to the people (Salish)
  • The two sisters who married stars (Yakama)
  • The boy who went with the seals (Wasco)
  • Far North : The beluga-skin bedaarka (Aluutiq)
  • The blind boy and the loon (Inuit)
  • How Raven brought back the Sun (Koyukon Alhabascan).
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-The Bruchacs retell Native North American folktales in a clear yet bold voice. The anthology is arranged geographically, a logical organization that reveals the diversity of Native peoples, from the corn planters of the East to the buffalo hunters of the plains to the gatherers of California. Descriptions of each region introduce the original inhabitants of those places, as the authors provide succinct yet enriching historical and cultural context for the stories that follow; unifying themes are also discussed. And every tale, in turn, begins with a brief background and credit to the Nation from which it is derived. The individual stories are concise, spanning only a few pages, allowing them to be read in a single sitting, while the many animal personalities found within-some mischievous, some heroic-will capture the imagination of storytime audiences. A current of subtle profundity runs through these stories. Vitale's stylized oil-on-wood illustrations vividly reveal the colorful spirit of the tales, as bright blues and reds complement the earth tones found throughout. An annotated bibliography provides source notes and comparative analyses to other folktales from around the world. Similar to Margaret Mayo's When the World Was Young (S & S, 1996), Girl is effective in the amount of cultural background it provides, the simplicity of the text, and the beauty of the paintings.-Jeff Meyer, Slater Public Library, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) In a utilitarian sense, this collection of Native American stories would seem to have everything. The contents are divided into major culture zones, from the Southwest to the Far North; a prefatory note describes who lived in each, and their way of life; three or four representative stories follow, each with a brief introduction; source notes are appended. The book is illustrated throughout with fanciful adaptations of Native American styles and motifs, deftly done if hardly genuine. But both purists concerned with the authenticity of Native American materials and champions of the works' literary qualities may have problems with the retellings. Some of the plots are heavily Europeanized: the title story, for instance, centers on a comely girl who marries a handsome stranger, discovers that he lives deep in a lake...and, shedding his clothes, becomes a snake. She escapes with the aid of the Thunders, and takes up life among them; the sounds of thunder are of her making. In the Bruchacs' version, the girl's folly in marrying a stranger is the main theme and the twice-iterated lesson, and her escape from the pursuing snake-husband -- "a huge serpent with glittering scales...not far behind her" -- reads like a dragon encounter. With a savvier version available (in John Bierhorst's The White Deer, the Bruchacs' source), why not use it? Similarly, "The Boy Who Went with the Seals" not only makes more sense in Jerrold Ramsey's compilation of Native Oregonian tales, Coyote Was Going There, it's more fluently and affectingly told. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.