Children's Literature - Uma KrishnaswamiThis is an unusual book in more ways than one. The Hopi tale of the hummingbird and two children is told in a voice as close as possible to that of the oral teller, without watering down some of its harsher aspects to soothe politically correct adult sensibilities. The complexity of that transition from spoken to written word is further acknowledged by giving the storyteller prominence with the author and illustrator. Unconventional, but then convention has not always been kind to the traditional people whose stories we have tapped for the children's market. Lacapa's stunning interpretive art eases the transition to print, and the story carries its own fascination.
Two young children learn from experience the importance of staying in contact with the source of creation.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-4-This Hopi pourquoi tale explains the cause of a great drought and the events that brought about its end. In Oraibi, a drought-stricken village, two young children are abandoned. To divert his thoughts from hunger, the boy makes a toy hummingbird from a sunflower stalk. When his sister hurls it into the air, it comes to life, first bringing the children food, then journeying to the underworld to request rain from the fertility god, and finally reuniting the youngsters with their parents. The full-color illustrations are both odd and arresting. In form and layout they resemble the bold patterns of Southwestern Indian artwork. However, the faces of the children and of Muy'ingwa, the fertility god, have slits for eyes and mouths, giving them a space-age look, as if they are wearing helmets. The text lacks the seamless feel of well-told story, not quite fitting into either an oral or a written form. Nonetheless, the tale is compelling and will hold listeners' attention. A good companion to Tomie dePaola's The Legend of the Bluebonnet (Putnam, 1983), another Native American story about drought and resolution.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
- Kiva Publishing, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.12(w) x 10.66(h) x 0.39(d)
- Age Range:
- 4 - 8 Years
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