Kali's Song

Kali's Song

by Jeanette Winter
     
 

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Renowned picture book author and illustrator Jeanette Winter brings us the enchanting story of a boy named Kali who lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Kali must learn to hunt, like the rest of the men in his tribe. But when Kali plucks the string on his bow, he forgets about shooting arrows, and makes music long into the night. Even the stars come close to

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Overview

Renowned picture book author and illustrator Jeanette Winter brings us the enchanting story of a boy named Kali who lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Kali must learn to hunt, like the rest of the men in his tribe. But when Kali plucks the string on his bow, he forgets about shooting arrows, and makes music long into the night. Even the stars come close to listen.

This lovely story celebrates the uniqueness in all of us, the beauty of the natural world, and the power of music and art over violence. According to the New York Times, it "will resonate with all young children who seek to find their path in the world—and may perhaps be a bit wary of other people’s expectations."

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tima Murrell
Kali is about to become a man and go on his first hunt. To help him prepare, his dad has given him his first bow and arrows. Kaili heads out to the woods to practice. But he learns that he can make a beautiful sound with his bow and his mouth. So every day he heads to the woods to practice. But he is practicing his music and not his hunting skills. The day of the big hunt arrives. When Kaili spots the mammoths in the distance, he runs to a hill to get a closer look. But he forgets all about the hunt and begins to play his music. The animals are entranced and come closer to hear the music. His tribe members assume he is a special shamam with magical powers. Everyone is proud of him and he grows up to cure many people and do great things. But he never forgets his music, even in his old age. This book has a heartwarming message about following your heart and being your own person. It is very subtle, but the story advocates kindness to animals. The illustrations are well done and fit the caveman story line. Reviewer: Tima Murrell
Pamela Paul
…a beautiful parable about the healing power of nature…Winter's minimalist, folk-arty illustrations…are thoughtfully matched to this story about harmony between man, his art and the natural world. This gentle story, told in Winter's signature calm and straightforward prose, will resonate with all young children who seek to find their path in the world—and may perhaps be a bit wary of other people's expectations.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Winter (The Watcher) takes a break from picture-book nonfiction to tell the story of Kali, a boy from prehistoric times. He’s skinny, friendly-looking, and wears fur, and he’d rather play his bow like a musical instrument than shoot with it. “Soon you’ll be a man,” his mother tells him, pointing to the horses she’s painted on their cave wall. “Soon you’ll hunt and kill wild animals like these.” But Kali’s bow playing draws even the immense mammoths the bowmen in his tribe are pursuing: “They had heard the sounds from his bow and had come to listen.” Kali’s people recognize the boy as a shaman. Once Kali understands who he is and what he must do, the pressure to conform falls away; it’s a story of a society that recognizes and respects those who are different. Winter’s cheerful, stripped-down figures and collage landscapes, in deep blues and ochres, make Kali’s path understandable and accessible even to young readers, and her vision of a life lived in perfect harmony with the universe—even the stars listen to Kali’s music—is full of hope. Ages 4–8. Agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2012:
“Minimalism brilliantly brings a distant time near.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, January 9, 2012:
“Winter’s cheerful, stripped-down figures and collage landscapes… make Kali’s path understandable and accessible even to young readers, and her vision of a life lived in perfect harmony with the universe—even the stars listen to Kali’s music—is full of hope.”

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Kali, a cave boy, prefers to use his weapon to make music rather than to kill. He lives with his hunter father and his cave-painting artist mother. The time comes for the boy to be given his own bow and arrows so he can help bring food to his people. During a practice session, Kali discovers that the bowstring makes a pleasant sound that, when he uses his mouth on the bow to change the pitch, brings peace to himself and the animals. "Kali forgot about shooting arrows and plucked his bowstring into the night. The stars came close to listen." After the tribe witnesses the soothing effects of his music, Kali is declared a shaman and spends the rest of his days healing the sick and playing his music. Pleasing collage illustrations in acrylic paint and pen and ink on handmade paper show a pale gray boy discovering the joy of tranquility amid the day-to-day struggle for survival.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Thousands of years ago, a boy chooses to use his bow for music rather than hunting, charming animals and eventually his tribe with hypnotic song. Winter's friendly folk-art illustrations offer an appealingly uncomplicated visual narrative, one as effortlessly expressive as the cave paintings Kali's mother creates on their rock walls. Trees, hunters, rolling hills and woolly mammoths appear with such unaffected clarity (thanks to generous spacing between shapes, figures and text) that they seem as authentic as realistic renderings. Children gain confidence interpreting pages so assuredly illustrated, and their feeling for Kali will grow as his life comes into focus. Winter's rudimentary acrylic, pen and ink illustrations look a little like elementary-school dioramas (evergreens perch awkwardly on hillsides, frozen figures point with stubby fingers and mouths open, miniaturized hunting scenes seem almost silly), but her pictures (atop frayed, mottled handmade papers) brilliantly evoke primitive times. Each spread's warmth, accessibility and kindliness make visiting a far-away century immensely pleasurable. Muted blues, browns and ruddy reds soften Kali's world of hunting, caves and manly expectations, bringing him close to children as they lean close to listen. After weeks of ditching hunting practice and instead playing his bow until stars "c[o]me close to listen," the day of the big hunt worries Kali and his readers alike. When his music stills both mammoths and their hunters, Kali's future changes forever. Minimalism brilliantly brings a distant time near. (Picture book. 2-6)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375970221
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/13/2012
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

JEANETTE WINTER has written and illustrated almost 50 books for children, including The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps, Diego (New York Times Best Illustrated Book, Parents' Choice Award winner, and Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies), Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World (New York Times Notable Book, Parents' Choice Silver Medal), The Librarian of Basra (ALA Notable Book), My Name Is Georgia (Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, ALA Notable, Booklist Editors' Choice), and Mama (Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, Society of Illustrators Silver Medal). Her art with flat colors and perspectives in the folk art tradition has brought her many honors.

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