Dance in a Buffalo Skull

Dance in a Buffalo Skull

5.0 1
by Zitkala-Sa, S. D. Nelson
     
 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gwynne Spencer
This book is the second of the "Prairie Tale" series, which began with The Discontented Gopher. The prairie mice have found an abandoned buffalo skull in which to hold their feast and to dance. The little fire makes the skull glow while they party and keeps away the coyotes. As the mice celebrate long into the night, one curious and hungry stalker is not frightened away. His yellow eyes peer through the empty sockets of the skull, and the mice scatter into the darkness, safely away from the cat. This tale was first translated into English in 1901 by Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, known now by her Lakota name, Zitkala-Sa, who first published a collection called Old Indian Legends in 1901. S.D. Nelson, whose illustrations include "Crazy Horse's Vision" and "Jim Thorpe's Bright Path," is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The storyline is only one or two sentences per page, with white text on a richly colored background of full-bleed illustrations that include mice in paint and regalia. The book includes a word list and bibliography. I found it difficult to read out loud, with unusual line breaks and the small white text on the dark backgrounds, but that might be due to this reviewer's old age showing through. Reviewer: Gwynne Spencer
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2- Zitkala-A a recorded this Yankton Sioux story more than 100 years ago, but this tale of mice caught unaware is still satisfyingly scary. Out on the deep, dark prairie, a large group of mice is having a wild party inside an old buffalo skull. The small creatures, in festive paint and costume, are dancing, singing, and eating with abandon, and they have neglected to put anyone on security detail. Out of the dark emptiness stalks a wildcat that waits until the height of the music to suddenly appear, abruptly ending the festivities. This story was created to remind Yankton Sioux children to keep an eye out at all times, and it still does that. Zitkala-A a is a wonderful storyteller-even with some old-fashioned language, the narrative tension builds deliciously to the scene of the fleeing mice. Nelson's illustrations add to the tension between the creeping wildcat and the celebrating mice. Even the dark is a character here-children will almost need to squint through the shadows to see the animals at night. In the pictures of the party, by contrast, the glowing light and excited mice seem to vibrate with action. This tale would be perfect in a scary storytime, told with the lights down low.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780977795529
Publisher:
South Dakota State Hist Society Pr
Publication date:
11/28/2007
Series:
Prairie Tales Ser.
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
755,050
Product dimensions:
6.79(w) x 8.66(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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