CM . . . .
Volume V Number 4 . . . . October 16, 1998
One night in this long-ago time, the darkness was very black and snow began to fall. It fell throughout the long, black night. The night seemed endless. The snow became deeper and deeper, covering plants and bushes; the animals had difficulty finding f ood, and many died.The rich heritage of Native American storytelling is highlighted in this wonderful collection of 20 myths and legends. Stories of creation, great warriors, medicine men, animals and spirits offer readers a glimpse into a time long ago when all of the peo ple and animals on earth lived together in harmony. A variety of first nations are represented in the collection - Blackfoot, Pueblo, Ojibway, Chippewa, Inuit and more - ranging from all parts of North America. Twelve of the stories are Canadian in origi n.
Each tale is told using vivid imagery and poetic language. The words flow with a gentle rhythm - one can almost hear the voices of the tribal elders as they share their stories around a glowing campfire with the stars overhead. With the exception of a f ew, the legends are written in language that is easy for children to understand. "The Apache Cinderella" offers a more spiritual slant on the typical Cinderella story; several other titles will be useful to teachers whose classes study the Canadian north . Every story is prefaced with a brief paragraph describing the group of people and the geographical area from which it originates. A table of contents, glossary and a list of sources are included.
Foreman has done a superb job of tying the collection together with his ethereal watercolour illustrations. Rich tones of blue, green, purple and russet, with just enough detail to capture the imagination, add greatly to the enjoyment of the text.
There is much to learn from this book, not only about Native American culture, but also about the relationship between man and nature and the stewardship of the earth.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School, East St. Paul, Manitoba.
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