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Children's LiteraturePart of the "Native Nations of North America" series, this volume introduces young readers to the cultures of the Native American groups of California's coastal region. This includes the Chumash, Coast Miwok, Gabrielino/Tongva, OWone, Payomka~chum-Acjachemem, Porno, and Salinan people. The author briefly discusses the confusion that sometimes arises because of the early Spanish settlers' tendency to rename some of the Native American groups after Spanish missions. Recently many groups have begun to use their original names again. Fourteen very brief chapters present information on: geography, languages, social structure, family life, material culture, shelters, transportation, hunting and fishing, harvesting acorns, arts, trade, European contacts, the missions, and modern life. All chapters, with the exception of the last one, deal with traditional California Coast Native American culture. Each chapter consists of a two-page spread enlivened by many color drawings, a few color photos, and sidebars of related information. Unfortunately there is no bibliography or Internet site list. While most of the book's information seems accurate, its brief format and wide subject matter results in some oversimplification and overgeneralization that might be confusing. Its visual appeal and inexpensive price might still make it worthwhile. A map, index, and glossary are included. 2005, Crabtree Publishing, and Ages 8 to 12.
—Gisela Jernigan, Ph.D.