How the Tiny People Grew Tall: An Original Creation Tale

How the Tiny People Grew Tall: An Original Creation Tale

by Nancy Wood, Rebecca Walsh
     
 

Inspired by the indigenous creation myths, Nancy Wood's fanciful tale is brought to life with rich, humorous paintings by Rebecca Walsh.

A long time ago, when everything was new, the Tiny People lived in the Center of the Earth. It was hot and crowded.

"Let's get out of here," says the smallest and boldest of the Tiny People under the earth. But

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Overview

Inspired by the indigenous creation myths, Nancy Wood's fanciful tale is brought to life with rich, humorous paintings by Rebecca Walsh.

A long time ago, when everything was new, the Tiny People lived in the Center of the Earth. It was hot and crowded.

"Let's get out of here," says the smallest and boldest of the Tiny People under the earth. But it's not until a star crashes into the ground that they first see the blue sky above - and each other - and dare to crawl up a cornstalk into a strange, scary world. Terrified but curious, the wee folk hitch rides with Eagle, Turtle, and Bear, who advise them to rise above the earth, take their time, and be strong, just like them. Other creatures show how to build a home and find food. And sure enough, after many seasons, the Tiny People grow as tall as young trees and are ready to kick up their heels and celebrate with all the animal friends who have taught them so well.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Author Wood has captured the flavor and cadence of a traditional folktale in this original story to set alongside other cultures' tales of beginnings. When the Tiny People manage to follow the brave Tiniest Person up from the dark center of the earth, they are a curiosity to the frightening large animals. But they are helped and encouraged by Eagle, Turtle, Bear, and others as they keep eating and growing. When they decide to settle, they learn from the animals how to build, hunt, and farm. Meanwhile they grow tall and strong, with the Tiniest becoming their brave, wise, and tall leader. With watercolors and acrylics Walsh paints a naturalistic world with a variety of plants, animals, and landscapes, then incorporates little, bald, naked, sexless, human-like creatures. They all look alike at first. Fortunately, the animals who befriend them are not aggressive. As the Tiny People grow, they begin to acquire human habits as well as fire, clothes, shelter, even weapons. The final scene shows them dancing around the fire like some Native Americans did, watched by the animals. Readers may draw what parallels they wish. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this original creation myth, the Tiny People emerge from the center of the Earth, led by the bravest and tiniest of them all, who surges on ahead of his wary compatriots. Over time, the forest denizens teach them a number of lessons, such as bravery, patience, and how to hunt. As they learn, the Tiny People grow a little taller, until finally they have absorbed so much that they become human, dancing around a bonfire as the animals watch. Watercolor-and-acrylic illustrations, some quite beautiful, help carry the story and compensate for some of the weaknesses in the text. The Tiny People, with their potbellies and sticklike arms and legs, are juxtaposed against lush, realistic creatures and the forest, and smaller paintings break up blocks of type. Unfortunately, the artwork and story often diverge. The Center of the Earth is described as "hot and crowded," but the illustration shows a large, cool cavern with only a handful of Tiny People. Scant motive supports their actions, and the story's concluding observation, "Sometimes animals even learn from people," seems to come from another story altogether. Perhaps Turtle "knew that it was true," but children have to accept that on face value as the text does not demonstrate how. The tale is based on a Native American emergence myth, but readers are left wondering if the actual myth would be more satisfying.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lively illustrations buoy this leaden creation tale, which is very loosely based on Native American "emergence" myths. When a group of tiny and timorous people with bean-shaped bodies and long, skinny limbs climbs out of the Earth, Eagle, Bear, Turtle and other friendly animals gather round to show them the land and sky, give them fire and food, teach them how to build houses and to grow corn. Gradually, the little ones grow to human size, gaining confidence (along with clothing) and changing from green to "the deep red color of the Earth." Walsh sets the gangly newcomers in active, sometimes comic poses, placing them and their naturalistically depicted helpers in a verdant, peaceful natural setting. A confusing final thought from Turtle-that just as people can learn from animals, so too can animals learn from people-caps a tale likely to raise more questions than it answers, but the little folks' antics and transformation make enjoyable viewing. (Picture book. 7-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763615437
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/11/2005
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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