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Heetunkas Harvest
     

Heetunkas Harvest

by Jennifer Berry Jones, Shannon Keegan (Illustrator)
 

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A retelling of a Sioux legend recounts how a woman learns a lesson about selfishness when she take beans from Heetunka the mouse without leaving a gift in return, and so brings the wrath of the gods down on herself. Ages 5 to 12

Overview

A retelling of a Sioux legend recounts how a woman learns a lesson about selfishness when she take beans from Heetunka the mouse without leaving a gift in return, and so brings the wrath of the gods down on herself. Ages 5 to 12

Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
Each autumn Heetunka the Bean Mouse gathers beans for her storehouse, while Indian women come to trade for her goods. One Dakota woman decides to disregard the courtesy exchange, and finds the spirits seek revenge in this warm Plains Indian tale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jones discards Native American storytelling conventions in her version of a Plains Indian tale; the result is an abruptly moderated cautionary tale. A Dakota woman, proud of her thorough preparations for winter, turns greedy as she contemplates Heetunka the Bean Mouse's store of rich white beans. Instead of taking what she needs and leaving behind the customary exchange, she scoops up every last bean. The woman behaves ever more selfishly and destructively, until she finally loses her well-appointed tipi in a prairie fire that, pointedly, leaves her neighbors' homes untouched. Stripped of Native American formalities, the story seems bare, inviting readers to doubt the protagonist's sudden descent into moral bankruptcy. Keegan's illustrations, framed in a motif incorporating quill work, fetish shells and feathers, add authenticity, while an author's note and glossary provide valuable documentation. Ages 6-12. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
As winter approaches, Heetunka, the Bean Mouse, works very hard gathering and holding enough earth beans to feed her children throughout the long, hard Plains winter. Unfortunately, a nearby Dakota woman is also busy gathering enough food for her children to eat throughout the winter. Becoming greedy and ignoring the age old advice of her people, she finds and takes all of Heetunka's hidden store and leaves nothing in exchange. Detailed, evocative paintings framed with geometric designs enhance this cautionary folktale. An author's note and glossary are included.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Heetunka the Bean Mouse gathers earth beans, seeds, and grains to store in shallow underground caches. To add variety to their winter food stores, Plains Indian women trade green corn and suet for handfuls of the beans, always leaving the mouse enough for her own family. This legend, first recorded in 1804 by William Clark from the Arikara people (and for some reason altered by Jones to the Dakota people), tells of a woman who greedily cleans out Heetunka's Harvest. Although she hears her ``small sister'' crying, the woman fails to soften her heart. That night, she is sent a dream from Hunka, the Spirit of Kinship, who tells her to bring corn or return some of the beans to the creature. Again she refuses. Suddenly a prairie fire rushes toward her family's tipi. They escape unharmed, but all of their belongings and food are lost, and the woman learns a powerful lesson. This tale teaches one of the core values of Native life-that of sharing and having respect for all living things. Warm, earth-hued, full-and double-page paintings blend seamlessly with the story. A fine effort appropriate for all libraries.-Lisa Mitten, University of Pittsburgh, PA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570982354
Publisher:
Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/1998
Series:
Council for Indian Education Series
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,339,261
Product dimensions:
9.04(w) x 11.98(h) x 0.17(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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