The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

( 2 )


Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to earth.

Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to the earth.

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Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to earth.

Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to the earth.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
According to PW , this tale of Little Gopher's artistic dreams is ``related with deceptive simplicity by dePaola; he enhances the plainness of the story with his primitive illustrations and . . . finds inspiration in the colors of the sunset.'' Ages 4-8. (June)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4 Little Gopher was smaller than the other young Indian boys of his Plains tribe, and although he tried hard, he could not do what the others did. The tribe's wise shaman assures him, however, that he has a different gift. As he grows up it is revealed to him in a vision that he will paint pictures of the glories of his tribe, that his own greatest work will someday be ``a picture that is as pure as the colors in the evening sky.'' As he grows older he does indeed paint the great deeds, the hunts, the visions of his tribe. But making paints to match the colors of the evening sky eludes him. One night, a voice directs him to a special vantage point where he finds brushes filled with wonderful colors. He creates at last his masterwork, and the next day the brushes have rooted and become the brilliant flowers we now call Indian Paintbrush. This book will inevitably be compared with The Legend of the Bluebonnet (Putnam, 1983), but the pivotal elements are very different. The humanity expressed in this story illustrates the value of perseverance, and of endurance of effort that will bring its reward. DePaola's softly rounded shapes and his hero's diminutive stature, downcast eyes, and sober mien breathe attitudes of acceptance, of quiet waiting, of diligent persistence. The picture of the boy gazing mutely, patiently, into the western sky is ineffably moving. And dePaola must have had a wonderful time painting the gloriously uplifting skies depicted here. Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, McKinney, Tex.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812499025
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Sales rank: 1,497,391
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola
Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.


Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4.5
    ( 2 )
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    Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 3, 2013

      This book is one of my most beloved stories from my childhood a

      This book is one of my most beloved stories from my childhood and I'm going to buy it not just for me but for my son as well.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 25, 2006

      Legend of the Indian Paintbrush Review

      Traditional: I like the book, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. I am interested in art, so this book defiantly appealed to me. This book is good to show children that not everyone is the same and that is okay. It shows children that everyone has their own special talent, you just have to find it and accept it. Tomie dePaola has been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers .Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure. He lives in New London, New Hampshire with his new Airedale dog, Brontë. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, is about a young Indian boy. He does not seem to fit in quite right with the other Indian boys. He is smaller and unable to keep up with them. However, he did have his own special talent¿he made toy warriors from different things and loved to decorate smooth stones with juices from berries. One day he gets a Dream-Vision. He is told about all the pictures he will paint and that the people will see them and remember them forever. The next day he made paintbrushes, paints, and collected skins of animals. He painted many pictures. Everyday he painted pictures. One evening he goes to the hillside and paints the sunset with colors from the ground. The little boy then becomes known as He-Who-Brought-the-Sunset-to-the-Earth. ¿Do not struggle, Little Gopher. Your path will not be the same as the others¿. This is the part of the book where the Wise Shaman is talking to the young boy about his talent. ¿But he never gave up trying, and every morning when he awoke he took out his brushes and his pots of paints and created the stories of the People with the tools he had¿. This is the part of the story where the Indian boy continues following the words from his Dream-Vision. DePaola, Tomie. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. New York: Scholastic, 1991. Grade Level: 1st

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