Bears Make Rock Soup: And Other Stories

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In Bears Make Rock Soup, writer Lise Erdrich and painter Lisa Fifield honor their Native American ancestral traditions. As winter falls, women fill the bellies of hungry bears with sweet stories so they will sleep till spring. Crows warn of enemies in pursuit so that a tribe may escape to safety. Children care for an abandoned moose they find crying for its mother. And animals of all stripes and feathers gather to pay respects to a beloved chief who has fallen while defending ...
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Overview

In Bears Make Rock Soup, writer Lise Erdrich and painter Lisa Fifield honor their Native American ancestral traditions. As winter falls, women fill the bellies of hungry bears with sweet stories so they will sleep till spring. Crows warn of enemies in pursuit so that a tribe may escape to safety. Children care for an abandoned moose they find crying for its mother. And animals of all stripes and feathers gather to pay respects to a beloved chief who has fallen while defending his people.

A collection of stories inspired by paintings that depict the special relationships betweens the Plains Indians and such animals as bear, deer, moose, crows, and loons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First-time author Erdrich creates 14 short, myth-like tales to accompany each of fine artist Fifield's paintings, which dominate this volume dedicated to traditional tribal life. Both underscore the Native American ideal of humans and animals living in peace. The narrative is at its best when it plays off the paintings. Two successive standout tales, for instance, demonstrate the give-and-take between humanity and the natural world. "The Abandoned Yearling" tells of a young moose, rejected by his mother, who is fed and sheltered by a Native woman; Fifield's painting, gently tinted in sand and sable hues, shows Native mothers and children standing quietly among moose mothers and their babies, literally opening their tipi to the yearling moose. The painting resembles a tapestry; all the figures weigh in equally, the humans neither more nor less prominent than the other creatures. In the story that follows, "Grandfather Moose," the yearling, now an elder, returns to give the woman who helped him a gift a "moose track" pattern for a magnificent robe she and the other women are making for him. Not all of the tales dovetail as fluidly as these, but Fifield's paintings alone will repay many viewings, and readers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the possibilities of cooperation between humankind and nature. Ages 6-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A collection of short stories written by an Ojibway-German author to accompany paintings by an Oneida-German artist. The tales are brief, each purporting to celebrate a vision of people and animals sharing and helping one another. They tell of wonders and transformations, but a narrative arc is mostly nonexistent and the tone is matter of fact and slightly flat. A bear has fallen asleep on a crow's nest and is coaxed down with a bowl of berry soup. A yearling moose has been abandoned by his mother; human women warm him, feed him, and explain the facts of growing up and going out on his own. The story ends, as many do, anticlimactically: "Other young moose called to him, `Join us! Join us!' And he did." The stylized watercolors carry the narratives, which are ever-so-slightly dull. Lessons are small and obvious; the human-animal connection can be strained, but there is a low-keyed gentleness of spirit that is endearing and almost mesmerizing, like a drone or a chant. The book would not add to a myth or fairy-tale collection; perhaps it should be considered instead as a modern interpretation by two Native American women of heritages they clearly value and respect.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892391721
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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