Gift Horse: A Lakota Story

Overview

An action-packed coming-of-age story, Gift Horse is a wonderfully evocative introduction to 19th-century Native American life on the Great Plains. When his father gives him a gift horse, marking the beginning of his journey to manhood, Flying Cloud and the horse, Storm, spend their days hunting and roughhousing with the other boys and their horses. But when an enemy raiding party steals his beloved Storm, Flying Cloud faces the ultimate rite of passage. He must join the rescue party and earn the right to wear the...
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Overview

An action-packed coming-of-age story, Gift Horse is a wonderfully evocative introduction to 19th-century Native American life on the Great Plains. When his father gives him a gift horse, marking the beginning of his journey to manhood, Flying Cloud and the horse, Storm, spend their days hunting and roughhousing with the other boys and their horses. But when an enemy raiding party steals his beloved Storm, Flying Cloud faces the ultimate rite of passage. He must join the rescue party and earn the right to wear the shirt of a warrior. Bold, colorful artwork inspired by the style of the early Plains Indians illustrates the day-to-day life of the Lakota and tells the story of a boy accepting the challenges of manhood. An author's note gives a brief history of the Lakota and explains the traditions discussed in the story.

Relates the story of a Lakota youth whose father gives him a horse in preparation for his making the transition from boyhood into manhood and becoming a Lakota Warrior.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his children's book debut, Nelson, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, imagines the boyhood of his great-great-grandfather, a Lakota warrior. His prose is spare, even expressionless at times, as he recounts the rites of passage of his protagonist, Flying Cloud. Eager to prove himself, Flying Cloud hunts, goes alone on a four-day vision quest and joins the men on a buffalo hunt. He also grows increasingly attached to his horse, Storm, a gift from his father, and it is his partnership with Storm that ultimately helps Flying Cloud achieve warrior status. Like the text, the art is highly controlled. Nelson works here in acrylic paints on wood panels; the medium encourages a flatness to the compositional plane. Figures are angular and stylized--the humans have few facial features, the horses lack manes. Instead of such details, Nelson relies on bold color to supply energy and character. Storm, for example, is blue; half of Flying Cloud's face is red while the other half is striped in blue. Textured backgrounds add visual interest and counterbalance the primitive aspects of the illustrations. The understated delivery may put off readers, but those who can adjust to Nelson's quiet approach will find that the story has staying power. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 2-6-This quietly told, first-person narrative relates how Flying Cloud matured from a boy to a man in the Lakota society of the 1800s. The horse was considered a sacred animal by the Sioux, one of the finest gifts one person could give another. This story, which opens with the presentation of a horse to Flying Cloud, traces his growth as he practices war games with friends, learns to trust his horse's judgment and to think before acting, and goes through the rituals that denote attainment of Warrior status. Sweat lodges, vision quests, hunting successes, and counting coup are all explained in the context of the story. Also, the Lakota cosmology, integral to the story, becomes clear. Nelson's illustrative style is influenced by the ledger-book drawings of the Plains Indian artists. Clear, iconic, slightly elongated figures rendered in acrylics on wood in bright, solid colors contrast with the milky realism of the prairie skies and snowstorms. Best used with works such as Paul Goble's The Gift of the Sacred Dog (Bradbury, 1982) or Russell Freedman's Indian Chiefs (Holiday, 1987), this story, fluid in both narrative and illustrations, elucidates with grace and clarity a way of seeing the world and comporting oneself in it.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810941274
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 450,318
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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