Kokopelli's Flute

Kokopelli's Flute

4.8 8
by Will Hobbs
     
 

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The Magic Had Always Been There...

Tepary Jones had always felt it. Fascinated by the magic of the ancient cliff dwelling called Picture House, he knew it was the perfect place to view his first total eclipse of the moon. Perhaps it would help him understand the secrets of the Ancient Ones.

In the dark silence, Tep and his dog Dusty waited for the lunar show.

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Overview

The Magic Had Always Been There...

Tepary Jones had always felt it. Fascinated by the magic of the ancient cliff dwelling called Picture House, he knew it was the perfect place to view his first total eclipse of the moon. Perhaps it would help him understand the secrets of the Ancient Ones.

In the dark silence, Tep and his dog Dusty waited for the lunar show. What Tep witnessed, to his horror, were robbers with shovels chipping into the red sandstone, destroying the ancient pictures, and stealing the priceless treasures! Left behind in their haste was a small, polished bone flute. Something told Tep he shouldn't put the flute to his lips, but he just couldn't resist. And then the magic began...THE MAGIC HAD ALWAYS BEEN THERE . . .

Tepary Jones had always felt it. Fascinated by the magic of the ancient cliff dwelling called Picture House, he knew it was the prefect place to view his first total eclipse of the moon. Perhaps it would help him understand the secrets of the Ancients Ones.

In the dark silence, Tep and his dog Dusty waited for the lunar show. What Tep witnesses, to his horror, were robbers with shovels chipping into the red sandstone, destroying the ancient pictures, and stealing the priceless treasures! Left behind in their haste was a small, polished bone flute. Something told Tep he shouldnt put the flute to his lips, but he just couldnt resist. And then the magic began. . .

Author Biography: Will Hobbs is the author of twelve novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels, Bearstone, Downriver, The Big Wander, Beardance, Far North,The Maze, and Jason's Gold were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Far North was selected by the ALA as one of the "Top Ten" young adult books of 1996, and Ghost Canoe received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1998 for Best Young Adult Mystery.

Will's books have won many other awards, including the California Young Reader Medal, the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the Colorado Book Award, and nominations to state award lists in over thirty states. A graduate of Stanford University and former reading and language arts teacher, Will has been a full-time writer since 1990. He lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.In His Own Words...

"Readers often ask me, "What made you want to write in the first place?" That's easy for me to answer: It was because I loved reading. If you like reading stories, you too might start thinking, I want to try that. I want to write a story!

"I grew up in an Air Force family. We lived in Pennsylvania, Panama, Virginia, Alaska, northern California, southern California, and Texas. I have three brothers and a sister. While we were living in Alaska, I fell in love with mountains, rivers, fishing, baseball, and books. Books I read on my own were always the best part of school for me. I was always going on adventures in my imagination.

"We moved from Alaska to California when I was halfway through fifth grade. I roamed the hills almost every day after school, and in the summers I went backpacking in the Sierras. After graduating from Stanford University, I moved to southwestern Colorado, where my wife, Jean, and I now make our home. We do lots of hiking in the nearby San Juan Mountains. You won't be surprised to learn that I was a reading teacher for many years before I became a full-time writer.

"About half of my ideas for stories come from life experiences, and the other half come from reading, as I learn more about whatever has sparked my interest. In the Grand Canyon one year, we met some rafters from Canada who told us about a remote river they loved called the Nahanni. I found a book on it, and we soon found ourselves heading way up into northern Canada, hiring a bush pilot, and flying in to the Nahanni. A thirteen-day trip on our raft led to months of fascinating reading about the land and people of the Northwest Territories. The result was Far North, set on the Nahanni.

"Learning to write well is like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport. It takes practice and dedication. My big breakthrough was learning to write with the five senses. In the world of the story, both writer and reader are imagining what it's like to be someone else, so you want to let the reader hear, see, taste, touch, and smell what your characters are experiencing.

"When I'm starting a new story, it takes a lot of faith. I'm like a woodcarver staring at a block of wood. It helps me to remember how, in the story of Pinocchio, that block of wood turned into a real boy. If you just keep working, you'll reach a point when the story starts coming to life. That's what a writer lives for! From that point on, you're hearing conversations in your head, you're seeing things happen, and you're just writing it all down."

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Hobbs has created a marvelous, mystical world that is intimately connected to our own. Kokopelli's Flute has grave robbers, ancient seeds that sprout and bear fruit in our time, and a young boy whose fascination with ancient times leads him to a time-travelling shape changer. Mid-grade to junior high boys will be fascinated by Tepary and his parents and the mysterious Mr. K.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Will Hobbs has crafted a magical story set in New Mexico where pothunters are plundering the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings. Tepary Jones, 13, discovers the looters and succeeds in chasing them away temporarily. After they leave, he finds an ancient bone flute which is enchanted. After playing it, he changes shape. This is magic from the Distant time, when people and animals could trade places. Tep must summon all of his courage to control this magic and to unravel the mystery of Kokopell's flute. A wonderfully rich world in which the power of sun, rain, soil, seed and Native American traditions are brought together to weave a haunting spell ver the reader.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This unique and compelling fantasy/adventure is set in northern New Mexico. The mood is created immediately as Tepary Jones, 13, sets out to view a total eclipse of the full moon from the ruins of a cliff dwelling near his family's farm, but the quiet mystery of the Ancient Ones is shattered by illegal pothunters. Tep finds an eagle-bone flute they leave behind, and his adventures become complicated by a magic older than the ruins. He finds himself changing into a bushy-tailed woodrat each night, which both hinders and helps him to find the pothunters; develop drought-resistant seeds with his father; and save his mother from the hantavirus, a disease thought to be contracted from rodent droppings. Both parents are scientists and have encouraged their son to enjoy and respect nature, and to help preserve the variety of life on earth as well as the beauties of the past. They are both fully developed individuals who capture and hold readers' interest. Even Dusty, the dog, has a rare personality. Hobbs vividly evokes the Four Corners region and blends fantasy with fact so smoothly that the resulting mix can be consumed without question. Subplots flow together naturally, and ancient stories and sensibilities become one with modern lives. Outstanding characters, plot, mood, and setting combine in this satisfying and memorable book.-Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
From the Publisher
"Outstanding characters, plot, mood, and setting combine in this satisfying and memorable book."
School Library Journal, starred review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380728183
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/01/1997
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of many popular adventure stories for young readers, including Bearstone and Beardance. His picture book, Beardream, illustrated by Jill Kastner, is a companion to these novels. Seven of his novels have been chosen by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults. A graduate of Stanford University and former language arts teacher, he lives in Durango, Colorado, with his wife, Jean. Longtime backpackers and river runners, they have spent many years exploring the mountain and canyon settings of Will's stories.
To learn more about the author and his books, visit Will's Web site at www.WillHobbsAuthor.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The magic had always been there. In the light, in the rock in the miniature-city the Ancient Ones left perched in the cliffs. I've always felt it. It seems like every day of my life I've been trying to get a little closer to the magic. This would be the night I not only got close, but crossed over.

The long June day was ending as I was hiking to the ruin with my dog, Dusty. This was going to be my first total eclipse of the moon, and I wanted to witness it from Picture House. For all the time I'd spent there, puzzling over the secrets of the ancient pueblo, I've never had an opportunity like a total eclipse. Maybe during the eclipse, if I listened hard enough, I might hear the footsteps of the Ancient Ones. I might even hear their voices. It might be a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Who knows, I might even see dancers appearing on the dance plaza from their underground kivas.

After the eclipse, I'd have my night-hike back home. Night is my favorite time, and every so often I hike by the moon. Like Ringo, my pet ringtail, I was born nocturnal. All the sleep I've ever needed is a few winks here and there. Tepary Jones is my name, after the fabulous tepary bean, of course.

Dusty and I stopped at the spring where the people from Picture House had come for centuries to get their water. Despite how dry it had been this year, water was still gushing from a thin layer of shale and falling into the pool below. The cliffs and the mesa tops were glowing with the last reflections of the sunset as we watched the full moon rise over the canyon rims of our out-of the-way corner of northern New Mexico.

I shucked my clothes and dove into the pool. Acool jolt ran through me like electricity. "Jump in, girl!" I called to Dusty, and she did. I'm thirteen, and Dusty just turned eleven. At her age, even a natural swimmer like a golden retriever takes a little bit of encouragement, but there's a lot of puppy left in that old dog's heart.

I climbed out and shivered, and Dusty shook, and I rested my back against the slab jutting twenty feet into the air. A minute later I was dry and comfortable. The slab is an ancient creek bed turned to stone. You can still see the wavy water lines that the receding creek left behind, and even the tracks of a turkey-sized dinosaur that walked across the mud and left its mark in time.

Still a couple of hours until the eclipse. I dressed, and we threaded our way through the scrubby pinyon pines and junipers we call a forest around here, until we could see Picture House with its five kivas, forty three rooms, and two towers gleaming across the ancient dance plaza. The cave that housed the cliff dwelling soared high and wide, dished out of the arching cliff. Eight hundred years ago the people came through all those little doorways for the last time, walked away, and left only stiffness, silence, and secrets.

This is where I wanted to watch, to try to feel what the people must have felt when they witnessed an eclipse of the moon from Picture House. I curled up a stone's throw from the ruin and started snacking on a bag of pinyon nuts. Sitting on her haunches, Dusty's face was on a level with mine. Her muzzle was grizzled these days, like she'd stuck it in a bag of flour. I pointed at the moon, so close it seemed you could reach out and grab it.

"Tep-a-ree Jones and his faithful dog Dusty waiting for the eclipse of the moon,?' I half-sang. "Picture House, New Mexico. Tep the Bean Man, the Human Bean, Dusty the dog, the old retriever, Old Faithful, waiting for the eclipse with her sidekick Tepary Jones."

I listened to the silence coming out of the ruin, silence so deep it seemed loud, and I waited for something to break it. I wondered if I'd hear from the great horned owl nesting high in the cliff above the ruin. I wondered if the ancestors of that owl nested in the same spot back when people had lived here.

The silence was broken at last by the scurrying feet of packrats coming to life now that day was done. Not all the residents of Picture House had abandoned their homes.

I fell asleep. I don't sleep much, but when I do, I sleep ferociously and my dreams often take strange shapes. Sometimes I wonder if they are dreams of the future. I could have used a glimpse of the future now, a dream to warn me away from Picture House.

Next thing I remember, Dusty was stirring. I checked on the moon and found it full as before, barely higher in the sky. I hadn't missed the eclipse. Suddenly I be came aware of what Dusty already knew-voices were coming from the ruin. I was surprised and more than a little alarmed. We never ran into people up at Picture House.

I put my fingers to my lips. Dusty understood; we were old tracking partners. Once we even beat a mountain lion at her own game of watching without being seen.

Angling for a good vantage point, I crept a little closer, crouching behind the bushy junipers outside the big cave's drip line. Two voices. They were coming from inside the ruin all right, which rose like steps from one to two to three stories, all the rooms still perfectly preserved with even a couple of ladders connecting roofs and balconies. Picture House was lit up bright silver by the moon but still I couldn't see anyone in there. Then I heard a man's voice say, "This is going to be a five-thousand-dollar night." The second man laughed and said, "Ten-thousand-dollar night. This place has never been dug before."

I caught myself, hoping I'd heard wrong, but I'd heard what I'd heard. Pothunters! It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me, and I went down on my knees. I couldn't believe this was really happening. Picture House had never been vandalized before; it's the "last, best jewel," as my mother likes to put it, of all the cliff dwellings in the Four Corners states. The ruin isn't marked on maps, and it's sure enough hard to get to. But my folks had always said it was bound to get "bombed" one day. . .

Copyright ) 1995 by Will Hobbs

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