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Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

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  • Posted March 1, 2014

    Colorful art, and historical information given from the Native A

    Colorful art, and historical information given from the Native Americans point of view. Paul Goble is one of the best children's authors on native american stories. He researched and found the story of the Native American survivors of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. How the assault was upon a large encampment of people attempting to avoid the white soldiers. And how the heat of battle can confuse the story. The information about the native point of view is hard to find in the history of the travels to the west. The fact that their story was over looked by history is not strange, but shows the ethnocentric ideals of the Westward movement. 
    This is a great book for teaching history, and the perceptions of those who record history. 
    The art work is based on native american drawings, and has many detailed cultural aspects that would have been overlooked by Non-Native artists.

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  • Posted August 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I used to play cowboys and Indians with my brothers when I was a

    I used to play cowboys and Indians with my brothers when I was a kid. I always pretended to be Indian because they wore brighter colors. Of course, since I was a girl, the Indians always lost. But it’s pleasing now, as an adult, to find a children’s book that relates the true story of a real and famous battle, from the viewpoint of a real Indian narrator. Who knew? They did indeed wear brighter colors, and they didn’t always lose.

    Paul Goble’s beautiful book offers enticing images, drawn in an intriguingly linear style and full of complex details. The text combines a fictional first-person account with historical interludes to create a simple and complete retelling of Custer’s Last Battle. Together, the art and writing form a book designed to be read to children age six and up. The pictures will hold their interest for years to come, at least until they’re old enough to read the story themselves, making this the sort of book that becomes a favorite treasure through the years.

    The book begins with a short message from 98-year-old Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather was a scout in the battle. The author gives his own introduction on the next page, describing the research and motivation behind his book, and proving it truly is well-founded and well-researched. After a brief reminder of the background to the events—useful for adult readers like myself who may not be too familiar with what really happened or why—the fictional Red Hawk begins his tale.

    “I am Oglala,” he says. “I was fifteen winters old when Long Hair attacked our camp… I was in that fight.” And so, straight away, young listeners are pulled into a world of tipis arrayed in circles, children playing, and horses grazing on the hills.

    Comments in italics provide background to a story told with a convincing voice and vivid detail. The language is simple. The thoughts are authentic. And the wise child will listen and learn while being entertained. A story that invites us to see our past and present through more than one eye, to recognize depth in our sharing of the land, and to value family and home, loyalty and love, this tale treats friend and enemy with equal respect, paying homage to all who made North America their own.

    A valuable addition to any child’s library, or adult collection of books to read with children, this book combines wise introspection with honest research and turns an already exciting tale into a lesson for all.

    Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher with a request for my honest review.

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