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The Sleeping Lady

Overview

To many people who gaze across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, Alaska, Mount Susitna looks like a slumbering woman. The Sleeping Lady is a modern-day folk legend that accounts for both Alaska's first snowfall and for the origin of this beautiful mountain. It is also a classic tale about a time of peace and the consequences of war.

Enchanting oil paintings by artist Elizabeth Johns capture the village life of the giant people, a prehistoric, peace-loving group and the drama that ...

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Overview

To many people who gaze across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, Alaska, Mount Susitna looks like a slumbering woman. The Sleeping Lady is a modern-day folk legend that accounts for both Alaska's first snowfall and for the origin of this beautiful mountain. It is also a classic tale about a time of peace and the consequences of war.

Enchanting oil paintings by artist Elizabeth Johns capture the village life of the giant people, a prehistoric, peace-loving group and the drama that ensues when they must face a band of menacing warriors. The tale centers on the fate of the story’s two betrothed lovers, Nekatla and Susitna, whose encounters with war bring a lasting change to the land and their people.

Cloaked in snow in winter and wildflowers in summer, Mount Susitna embodies the hope for peace so relevant at any age. As much a mythical explanation for natural phenomena as it is a tale about a time when people lived in harmony with nature and each other.

Relates the story of the first Alaskan snowfall and the origins of Mt. Susitna, across Cook Inlet from Anchorage.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Beautiful and enchanting pictures help to make this modern-day folk legend one children will want to read over and over again. Its message about war and peace leaves a lasting impression on the reader.”  —Review from Parent Council ™

“Dixon's serene presentation resonates with the simplicity of a Native American legend. Johns's oil paintings are an apt complement, their handsome, ethnic-appearing characters and reverence for the land adding drama and atmosphere. Especially striking are the illustrations' thematic borders, which subtly reflect the story's changing moods.” —Publishers Weekly
 

“Although the setting is unique to Alaska, the text, which focuses more on the story line and action than on description and detail, will hold the interest of readers, storytellers, and listeners everywhere. A great introduction to or enhancement for units on war, peace, decision making, cooperation, love, or myths and legends.” —School Library Journal

"The passages flow like poetry."—Small Press
 

“The text is reserved and compelling, and the paintings reinforce its tone and mood with earthy, folk-style images of the people and their land.”  —-The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Alaska's Mount Susitna is the inspiration for this affecting pourquoi story with a pacifist twist. News of fierce Northern warriors disrupt the wedding plans of Nekatla and Susitna, two of the "race of giant people [dwelling] along the shores of Cook Inlet'' during its halcyon times. Nekatla, determined to teach the invaders peace, sets out to meet them, leaving his intended behind to gather fruit, weave baskets and sew until his return. Wearied as the days pass, Susitna slumbers; the women who bring the news that her lover and his party have been slaughtered choose not to rouse her, their tears rising to form the world's first snowclouds. Only the coming of peaceful ways will awaken Susitna, now a mountain known as "the Sleeping Lady.'' Though this story's origin remains uncertain (possible sources are noted in the author's afterword), Dixon's serene presentation resonates with the simplicity of a Native American legend. Johns's oil paintings are an apt complement, their handsome, ethnic-appearing characters and reverence for the land adding drama and atmosphere. Especially striking are the illustrations' thematic borders, which subtly reflect the story's changing moods. All ages.
School Library Journal
(Gr 3-8) --This retelling of a modern-day folk legend of unknown origin provides an explanation for Alaska's first snowfall and for the formation of Mount Susitna, known in Southcentral Alaska as the "Sleeping Lady.'' It is also a story about peace, love, the consequences of war, and the importance of living in harmony with nature and with one another. The oil on canvas illustrations capture the village life and spirit of the peace-loving, prehistoric giants who must choose how to face a group of warriors who threaten their home. The rich and vibrant colors, the patterns and intricate details, and the variety of artistic styles (some of the illustrations are reminiscent of Picasso, Rousseau, Gauguin, Matisse, Van Gogh) create visual images that are thought-provoking, intense, and sometimes more haunting than pleasurable to look at. Although the setting is unique to Alaska, the text, which focuses more on the story line and action than on description and detail, will hold the interest of readers, storytellers, and listeners everywhere. A great introduction to or enhancement for units on war, peace, decision making, cooperation, love, or myths and legends. --Roz Goodman, Bering Strait School District Media Center, Unalakleet, AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882404950
  • Publisher: Graphic Arts Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Edition number: 35
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 765,846
  • Age range: 6 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 10.53 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Dixon is the author of numerous books including Alone Across the Arctic, Big-Enough Anna, Blueberry  Shoe, and When Posey Peeked at Christmas. She is a librarian and lives in Homer, Alaska.

Elizabeth Johns is a painter and has illustrated several books including The Sleeping Lady and Sunflower Sal. She is a former resident of the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Bristol, Tennessee.

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