Bruchac and Ross (How Rabbit Tricked Otter) team up for a companion volume to Bruchac's Flying with Eagle, Racing with Great Bear, a collection of Native American tales that focused on boys' rites of passage. Here, girls or young women are the protagonists of 16 stories intended ``to reach the daughters and granddaughters who will come after.'' Becoming a woman and marrying correctly are common themes: brave and resourceful heroines escape monsters and kidnappers, comically avoid marriage to trickster Owl or tragically die with their husbands. Unusual selections include ``The Beauty Way,'' a recounting of an Apache rite of passage; ``Stonecoat,'' the defeat of an evil and powerful medicine man by women who use the power of their ``moontime''; and the title story, in which a girl not only marries the moon but shares his job with him. Comments on the stories open the four sections of the book (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest), each of which contains tales from four different nations (e.g., Penobscot, Seneca, Passamaquoddy and Mohegan for the Northeast). An afterword and source notes close this useful resource for storytelling and multicultural learning. Ages 10-13. (Sept.)
- Janet Julian
Sixteen tales from Native North America emphasize the often-misunderstood character of women in pre-European culture. These stories have been collected from all parts of the country, four each from the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. From the Penobscot tribe, for example, we read of a brave girl named Arrowhead Finger, who is captured by an enemy tribe and withstands torture by using her intimate knowledge of plants to heal her burned fingers. She escapes but not before giving birth to a magical baby. Another girl is abandoned by jealous friends who want her intended husband for themselves. With the help of the Underwater People she escapes and returns to marry and thrive. Other girls defeat monsters and one saves her brother on the battlefield. Seven women during menstruation defeat a monster because of their power to give birth and create new life. An Apache coming-of-age ceremony is the subject of another tale. A tribal feud leads to the deaths of two young lovers. The final story, from the island of Kodiak, tells how a Pandora-like girl marries the moon but looks where she shouldn't. Her curiosity does not lead to disaster for mankind. Instead she is rewarded with the task of carrying the moon from the time it is full until the moon grows dark. In all the stories the girls are powerful, brave, wise, and caring. As Gayle Ross says, "The stories are the teachers. May their spirit travel with you." This volume is a companion book to Bruchac's Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear, a collection of Native American tales that focuses on boys' rites of passage. An excellent book for YAs.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-What sets this book apart from other collections of Native American tales is its focus on women. Of the 16 stories (4 from each corner of the U.S.), most are relatively unknown. In one Pandora-like tale, the heroine's curiosity is rewarded, not punished. A Cinderella variant, on the other hand, ends unhappily. Several selections involve abduction; there is a bit of cruelty and gore; and one romantic story ends tragically. Edging toward nonfiction, two pieces reflect actual coming-of-age ceremonies, and another celebrates the courage of a woman during the historical battle of Rosebud Creek. Although none of the retellings has the individual power of some Native-heroine tales available in picture-book form, e.g., Rafe Martin's Rough-Face Girl (Putnam, 1992), the volume as a whole is valuable and, as its introduction points out, will balance the popular image of the passive ``squaw.''-Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
A companion volume to Bruchac's "Flying with the Eagle, Racing with the Great Bear" , this anthology focuses on the role of women in traditional Indian cultures. The 16 stories, collected from tribes representing all areas of North America, range from female rites of passage to cautionary and "pourquoi" tales. Utilizing the significance of the number four to native cultures, each of the four sections represents a different region and contains four stories. Ross introduces the collection by noting that the role of women in traditional native cultures is "perhaps the most falsely portrayed," and indeed these tales bring a perspective that is little known outside the communities they represent. Striking black-and-white stylized drawings as well as background information about the region and the stories introduce each section. Acknowledgments for some of the stories are appended, as is a general source list. An excellent addition for storytelling collections.
Joseph Bruchac, coauthor of The Keepers of the Earth series, is a nationally acclaimed Native American storyteller and writer who has authored more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. He lives in upstate New York. Gayle Ross, published author, storyteller and lecturer, is a descendant of John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation during the "Trail of Tears." Her books, How Rabbit Tricked Otter and The Girl Who Married the Moon have received glowing reviews.