Dawn Land


Ten thousand years ago, in what would one day be known as North America, Young Hunter set out on an epic quest to overcome the Stone Giants who were terrorizing his people. Pitted against creatures of legend, Young Hunter journeyed to the innermost heart of his own humanity, even meeting the very gods of the land. He was entrusted with his tribe's most dangerous secret, a weapon that would change mankind forever.

Inspired by the classic Joseph Bruchac novel, Will Davis brings a ...

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Ten thousand years ago, in what would one day be known as North America, Young Hunter set out on an epic quest to overcome the Stone Giants who were terrorizing his people. Pitted against creatures of legend, Young Hunter journeyed to the innermost heart of his own humanity, even meeting the very gods of the land. He was entrusted with his tribe's most dangerous secret, a weapon that would change mankind forever.

Inspired by the classic Joseph Bruchac novel, Will Davis brings a timeless story to life, as the lore of old spawns a thrilling new kind of graphic novel. Drawing from the enduring creation myths of the Abenaki nation, Dawn Land immerses readers in Young Hunter's vision quest and offers a fresh perspective on the Native American experience.

A compelling first novel by nationally known Native American storyteller Joseph Bruchac. An action-packed adventure story spun in authentic native oral tradition, Dawn Land unfolds about ten thousand years ago, in the area now known as New England. A shadow is crossing over the land, and the village's finest son must meet the threat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adapted from Bruchac's 1993 prose novel, this lengthy fable, set in ancient times and apparently inspired by Abenaki folklore, concerns a young Native American hunter (called Young Hunter) who goes out to seek vengeance after his village is attacked by man-eating giants. Eventually, he's given the secret of using a bow and arrow, saves the day, and gets the girl (she's from another tribe, so her speech is represented as abstract squiggles). There's something curiously off about the tone of Bruchac's story: it's too deliberately paced to work as a folk tale, too otherworldly to work as straightforward narration, and his characters are saddled with leaden direct-to-video dialogue like "The twisting inside of him is strong. I see something coming from this that will make our people weep." Davis's rugged, heavily stylized artwork is much more effective; his painterly landscapes carry a lot of the book's scene-setting, and he gives its many long silent passages a lush and meditative tone. He also pulls off a few remarkable set-pieces, especially one where Young Hunter discovers a cave painting. Still, the story suffers from muddled storytelling. Illus.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Young Hunter, the hero of Native American storyteller Bruchac's first novel, Dawn Land, returns in this slightly disappointing sequel. It is two years since the young warrior saved his tribe, the Only People, by defeating the Ancient Ones, evil giants who crave human flesh. The intervening moons have been so idyllic for Young Hunter and his people that he has begun to forget details of the encounter with the monsters and, indeed, has doubts that it ever happened at all. Now, however, new evil from a dimly remembered past approaches to threaten the Only People once again. Walking Hill, a woolly mammoth wounded by humans as the last Ice Age retreated, has sworn revenge for the loss of his family and for his painful spear wounds. Worse yet, the only Ancient One not killed by Young Hunter revives, determined to avenge the death of his kind. Warned by dreams, the brave young Native must once more defend the Only People. Meanwhile, taking impassive note of the conflict is the river Kwanitewk (aka Connecticut). The story is at its best when it incorporates actual myths from the oral tradition of the Abenaki (from whom Bruchac is descended). The narrative lacks the momentum of Dawn Land, however, so readers familiar with that novel may feel let down, while those new to the series may be confused by allusions to earlier events. (Sept.)
Library Journal
With his first novel, Abenaki storyteller Bruchac has joined the multitude who spin out prehistoric coming-of-age stories, but he's done so with a difference and with great skill. While most (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's Reindeer Moon , LJ 1//87; Linda Lay Shuler's She Who Remembers , LJ 2/15/88) tell the story of a young girl, Bruchac focuses on the male rite of passage. On a quest to bring meat to his people, Young Hunter is bitten by a snake. Returning to his village, he relates his experiences to the oldest Talker, who sees that Young Hunter was chosen by the snake to protect the Only People from approaching danger. Bruchac seamlessly weaves ancient myths into his compelling tale of the young boy and his encounters with an earlier form of being, thought to be extinct, that threatens the survival of the human race. An outstanding work in its genre, Dawn Land should be popular with both general and young adult readers.-- Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596431430
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,013,966
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac has authored more than seventy books for adults and children and won numerous honors and awards. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York. Will Davis has worked in animation and illustrated the Clemency Pogue series by J. T. Petty. He lives in Milton, Florida.

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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Dawn Land is a graphic novel, a story told with words and pictures. But it's adapted from a novel, told entirely in world. How do you think the novel is different?

2. Technological innovations frequently cause great changes. Do you think this story makes a judgment about whether the development of the bow and arrow will be good for the Abenaki people? Do you have an opinion?

3. Throughout his quest, Young Hunter is confronted by Ancient Ones, the first creations of the Owner-Creator. Think about the first sentient creations of Gods of other religions. What would it be like if they walked the earth?

4. Weasel Tail (Holds the Stone) is Young Hunter's cousin, and saved his life as a child. The two young men share a similar history, but grow up very differently. To the extent that Weasel Tail being marked by the giants can be read as a metaphor for the effects of a tragedy on a child, is he still responsible for his actions? How do you think his tribe should deal with him? Should those who have been damaged psychologically by traumatic events still be held to the same standards of behavior by society?

5. Think about the roles that women play in this story. What can you deduce about their place in Abenaki society? Are these women better or worse off than women in modern American society?

6. Joseph Campbell postulates that every hero goes through cycle of separation (from homeland, family, etc. when called to go on a quest), initiation (into a set of trials that form the quest), and return (at which point a hero must resolve the dichotomy between things learned on the quest and his initial state). Does Young Hunter's journey follow the Campbellian quest model? Would you call him a hero? What about Weasel Tail?

7. Dawn Land is based on Abenaki myth. What purpose do you think that myths play or should play in a society? What role could this story have played for the Abenaki? What about for us, now?

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