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Legend of the Cranberry: A Paleo-Indian Tale

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on the folktales of the early Delaware Indians, Greene refurbishes a legend that unites two unlikely subjects: mastodons and cranberries. In a deliberately paced, detail-rich style like that of an oral storyteller, Greene describes the Yah-qua-whee, the prehistoric, elephant-like inhabitants of North America, and their helpfulness to the earliest people there. Suddenly (and in Greene's retelling, inexplicably), the Yah-qua-whee turn violently against the humans. Acting on counsel from the Great Spirit, the People trap the Yah-qua-whee in pits and destroy them. In the spring, the soft, blood-soaked ground sprouts bitter, blood-colored berries--the first cranberry bog. Greene's unusual tale, concluding with Indians bringing cranberries to the first Thanksgiving, is sure to enlighten any seasonal collection; her note at the end is also particularly informative. Sneed's full-spread watercolors, more sober and more dramatic than those for Turkey in the Straw (see review above), suggest the terrifying size of the lunging behomoths, the roar of the battle and the placidity of the pink sea of cranberry blossoms. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Julie Corsaro
A poignant Delaware Indian legend is smoothly adapted and retold here by a master storyteller. During the Paleolithic era in what is now North America, the Great Spirit creates Yah-qua-whee (the mastodon) to help humankind. But when the mastadons rebel, the smaller animals side with the People to defeat them. After hundreds are killed in the great battle, the creator hurls thunderbolts to the ground, killing the giant beasts. The "crane-berries" that grow in the bogs formed during the fighting are a peace offering from the creator to humankind. They are also the gift Native Americans give to the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. Greene's descriptive language evokes a strong sense of the prehistoric period and natural environment. Rendered in earth tones, the handsome, stylized artwork has a dignified quality that matches the tone of this complex "pourquoi" story. The detailed author's note includes information about the source material published in 1899, as well as Stone Age hunters, their artifacts, and wildlife.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671759759
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/24/1993
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 10.27 (w) x 10.35 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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