Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun: A Cherokee Storyby Geri Keams, James Bernadin
After Possum and Buzzard fail in their attempts to steal a piece of the sun, Grandmother Spider succeeds in bringing light to the animals on her side of the world.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue PreissnerIn this Cherokee creation story, Keams, a Native American author and storyteller, relates how the whole world got to share the sun, why possum has a hairless tail, and why the buzzard is bald. Bernardin's full-page color illustrations bring the animals alive and imbue them with human characteristics. At the beginning, blues and browns effectively convey the dark half of the world, while vibrant yellow, orange and red reflect the power of the sun and the ending of the tale. The author's note at the beginning of the tale ties together Grandmother Spider's bowl in the story to the clay bowls in Native American cultures.
School Library JournalK-Gr 4-The animals live in the dark half of the world and decide to steal a piece of the sun from the other half. First, Possum goes, hiding the stolen piece in the thick fur of his tail. The sun burns the fur right off, and that is why Possum has a hairless tail. Then Buzzard tries, carrying the sun in his thick crown of feathers, which burns off. Finally, Grandmother Spider goes, successfully bringing the sun back in a clay pot, and that is why we see the sun in the center of her web. There are a lot of elements here, and Keams handles them well, telling the story in a lively, informal style that lends itself to reading aloud. Characterizations are broad but distinct and appealing. The text is a little long for story time but will work well for one-on-one reading as well as for older listeners. Bernardin has the difficult task of portraying the animals living in darkness, and he does a good job. Unfortunately, some of the large, dramatic acrylic paintings are simply too dark to be seen easily from a distance. Independent readers and small groups will be better able to appreciate the shadowy details underscoring the main figures. Keams does not cite specific sources, apart from noting that this is a Cherokee story. A tale that will appeal to a wide audience.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA
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