School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-4-Muwin, a bear, looks for food at the onset of winter. He follows the scent of an old, lame snowshoe hare, unaware that it is the Great Magic Hare of the Woods. Muwin tracks the animal for three days, but always finds instead an Indian who shares food and a story. Every morning, however, he wakes up alone and hungry and knows he has been deceived. On the fourth morning, the first snow comes, and a boy in a canoe takes him to his den. He is happy to give up hunting for sleeping. The text is lengthy for a picture book, and the Native American's interpolated tales, while fine in themselves, compete with Muwin's somewhat weaker story. The illustrations are attractive, especially those featuring animals. Shetterly's style is a simplified naturalism, most effective when the background is minimal. The palette is dominated by russet and blue, with the bear's dark bulk counterpointed by the hare's pure white. For collections specializing in trickster tales, or Native American (Passamaquoddy) material, or books set in Maine, this tale might appeal.-Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Janice Del NegroWith the feeling of an oral tale, this is the story of Muwin, a bear who does not wish to sleep his winter sleep. Instead, he gives chase to a snow hare, not realizing that the hare is really Mahtoqehs, the Great Magic Hare of the Woods. Mahtoqehs leads Muwin to the fires of those who are not what they seem--a hunter, an old woman, and a chief--and at each fire Muwin hears a story. At the last fire, he feasts and dances, only to awaken in the falling snow. A young boy in a canoe offers to return Muwin to his den for the winter sleep the bear now desires. Muwin asks, "`Are you Mahtoqehs?'. . . A funnel of snow spun in front of the canoe. It rose into the air against the snowflakes coming down. It looked to Muwin like an enormous snowshoe hare." A combination of tales within a tale, the story has good pacing and momentum. The illustrations are sometimes dark and muddy, their compositions uninspired, but they still have some power and reflect the text adequately. The book will have wide appeal and will lend itself to storytelling and reading aloud as well as to use across the curriculum. A pronunciation guide and some background on the Passamaquoddy people are included.
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