Grandfather Mountain: Stories of Gods and Heroes from Many Cultures by Burleigh Muten, illus. by Si n Bailey, collects tales of spirituality from around the world. The titular story, from the Seneca Indians of North America, tells of Crow, a boy whom Grandfather Mountain deems the world's first storyteller, while "The Sons of Rangi and Papa-tu-a-nuku" is a bittersweet creation myth from the Maori in New Zealand. Bailey's illustrations include a meticulously detailed visual border whose narrative parallels the text. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Eight tales from different times and places are pulled together in this celebration of heroes and their journeys. To start it all is "Grandfather Mountain," itself a celebration of storytelling. In this Seneca tale, a craggy, magnificent elder helps an orphaned, outcast youth named Crow find a place where he belongs and a purpose for his life. Through the generous sharing of Grandfather Mountain, the boy learns both the traditional stories of his people and the importance of sharing those stories. A story from the Yoruba culture of Nigeria is about brothers Orinmula and Eshu. Brothers, friends, and gods, the pair are brought together when Orinmula decides to journey to the city of Owo. It is a long walk, and there are mysterious indications that Orinmula should turn back for home. Still, he persists, and ultimately only his brother's wisdom offers salvation. A story from the Aztec culture of Mexico details the creation of the first people by Quetzalcoatl. A story from England celebrates Merlin's power as a magician when faced with a mystical circle of ancient stones. Burleigh Mutén has a clear regard for the power of storytelling and a keen sense of the rhythm of spoken stories. This collection is the perfect choice for classroom read-alouds or bedtime sharing. Siân Bailey's beautiful illustrations honor these tales. 2004, Barefoot, Ages 10 up.
—Heidi Hauser Green