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Crazy Horse's Vision

Crazy Horse's Vision

5.0 1
by Joseph Bruchac, Lee & Low, S. D. Nelson

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Crazy Horse is among the best known Native American heroes. Yet many people do not know his boyhood name was Curly, inspired by his curly hair.

Curly was a leader even as a young boy, taming wild horses and hunting powerful buffalo. But all his bravery could not prepare him for the trouble he and the other Lakota Indians would face with the white settlers.


Crazy Horse is among the best known Native American heroes. Yet many people do not know his boyhood name was Curly, inspired by his curly hair.

Curly was a leader even as a young boy, taming wild horses and hunting powerful buffalo. But all his bravery could not prepare him for the trouble he and the other Lakota Indians would face with the white settlers. Wanting to help his people after a fierce battle that mortally wounded Chief Conquering Bear, Curly defied traditional custom and risked his own life by running away, up to the hills, to seek a vision.

Renowned Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac tells a gripping and compelling story of how the dedicated young boy, Curly, grows into the brave warrior Crazy Horse. Sioux artist S.D. Nelson, with paintings inspired by the ledger book style of the Plains Indians, evokes the drama and tragedy of an important figure in American history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As he did in Gift Horse, Sioux artist Nelson blends contemporary and traditional elements for the striking illustrations that accompany this story of the legendary Lakota warrior. Bruchac (A Boy Called Slow: The True Story of Sitting Bull) traces Crazy Horse's boyhood, zeroing in on a pivotal event in his life and highlighting an important Native American rite of passage. As a youth, Crazy Horse (then known as Curly) witnesses U.S. Army soldiers brutally and unjustly attack his people. Troubled, he embarks on a vision quest and sees a figure on horseback riding untouched through a storm of lightning, hail and bullets. His father interprets the vision, telling him that "the man on that horse is the one you will become" and that he is destined to defend his people. Bruchac's description of the vision quest is compelling, and his decision to limit his canvas to a few select events demonstrates his understanding of his audience; an afterword describes subsequent events in the warrior's life. Endmatter also illuminates Nelson's approach. The artist explains his approximations of the Plains Indians' traditional ledger-book style (characterized by indistinct facial expressions and flat, two-dimensional figures) and his symbolic use of color (Crazy Horse is painted blue, representative of a connection with the spirit world). His sweeping vistas and somewhat ghostly textured brushwork bolster the book's visionary theme. Ages 6-up. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Crazy Horse's journey from boyhood to manhood is retold in this informative and satisfying tale. Named Curly at birth because of his hair, he exhibits athleticism, curiosity and strength early on, qualities that mark him as a natural leader. After violence erupts between the white army and his people, he breaks with his tribe's customs and independently seeks a vision to guide them in their struggle. This vision, of a rider sacrificing himself, helps to mature him and is later translated as a portent of his future greatness. It also results in the change of his name to Crazy Horse. This book is effective in vividly and beautifully communicating information about the Lakotan culture. The imagery and poetic language convey the concerns of a people who relied on and respected nature. Additionally, the illustrations arrest the eye. The use of bold geometric shapes and bright colors, combined with traditional Lakotan artistic elements, add to our overall appreciation of this Native American group. 2000, Lee & Low Books, Ages 7 to 12, $16.95. Reviewer: Michele Gable
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Joseph Bruchac's excellent picture book (Lee & Low, 2000) about the brave Lakota warrior presents information about his youth. The beauty of the story is not quite realized in the narration by Curtis Zunigha, former Chief of the Delaware (OK) Nation. While richly voiced, he reads Bruchac's spare narrative inordinately slowly and mechanically. Although he may be attempting to convey reverence for Crazy Horse, the integrity of the narrative is compromised by his halting speech patterns. While waiting for the narration to progress, listeners will likely become bored and read ahead on their own. Following the telling, Bruchac picks up the pace when he reads the interesting author and illustrator notes from the original text.-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnsville, MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bruchac (Sacajawea, 2000, etc.) teams up with a Lakota (Sioux) artist for an atmospheric view of the feared and revered Crazy Horse's youth. At birth, the child dubbed "Curly" did not cry, but "studied the world with serious eyes," quietly going on to lead all of the other youths in courage and, having watched his people being gunned down for killing a "wasichu" settler's errant cow, slipping away on a premature vision quest. His stormy vision of a rider with a lightning bolt on his cheek, spots like hail on his chest, and a clear, if unspoken, command to "keep nothing for yourself," led him to become a man as noble as he was brilliant and daring. Inspired by the ledger-book art of the Plains Indians, Nelson paints his figures with stylized forms, chiseled features, and indistinct expressions, adding realistic depth of field but giving Crazy Horse blue skin to emphasize his connection to the spirit world. The author and illustrator both append substantial explanatory notes. Like A Boy Called Slow, also by Bruchac (1995), this makes inspirational reading and affords a glimpse into the heart of a renowned American leader. (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Product Details

Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
9.32(w) x 11.02(h) x 0.41(d)
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is an Abenaki Indian. He is among the most respected and widely published Native American authors, with over 100 titles in print, including the popular Keepers of the Earth series and Lee & Low's Crazy Horse's Vision, which received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. His YA novel, Wolf Mark, is a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award winner. A Rockefeller Fellow and an NEA Poetry Writing Fellow, he was the 1999 recipient of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to writing, Bruchac is an editor at Greenfield Review Press, a literary publishing house he co-founded with his wife. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

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