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Snail Girl Brings Water: A Navajo Story

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When the People emerge from below the earth into the world we live in today, they discover there is no fresh water. Someone must go back down into the old world below the sea to bring back some pure water so that First Woman can sing her song of magic and make many streams and rivers flow. Snail Girl saves the day in this retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth.

A retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth which ...

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Overview

When the People emerge from below the earth into the world we live in today, they discover there is no fresh water. Someone must go back down into the old world below the sea to bring back some pure water so that First Woman can sing her song of magic and make many streams and rivers flow. Snail Girl saves the day in this retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth.

A retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth which explains how water came to earth.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
This lively retelling of a Navajo creation myth tells how, after coming to the Fifth World, First Woman realized that they needed fresh water from their Old World beneath the sea. She patiently waits as various members of the Water Clan descend into the sea to bring the precious water. All of these animals, including Frog, Turtle and Otter fail, until finally only the slow, but brave, Snail Girl is left to save the day, and the New World. Vivid, glowing paintings bring out both the humor and beauty of this tale. Besides emphasizing our need for pure water, this story also tells how the various animals came by some of their characteristics, for example, how the snail got her shell. A brief author's note explains the authors' connection to the tale. She is a Navajo storyteller from the Painted Desert.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this creation story, the first People are flooded out of the Underworld and emerge into this, the Fifth World, at the shore of a large salty ocean. First Woman constructs a water bottle out of seashells and calls on the animals of the Water Clan to return to the Underworld and fill it with fresh water. One by one, Otter, Beaver, Frog, and Turtle fail in this quest. Finally, brave but slow Snail Girl volunteers and returns with enough fresh water to enable First Woman to create a river. Snail Girl is a hero who succeeds through quiet perseverance and humility. Written by a Navajo storyteller, the text of this picture book is a clear and careful example of storytelling set within a specific Native American culture. Ziehler-Martin uses a brilliant palette that is reminiscent of contemporary animated movies. While the animals are drawn clothed, it is evident that they do not represent humans. There is one point of disconnection between the text and artwork: Snail Girl is described as so exhausted that she cannot cry, yet the illustration shows tears streaming down a reflection of her face. Still, this is an excellent addition for collections looking for folktales that explore multicultural and ecological themes.-Loriene Roy, University of Texas, Austin Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873587730
  • Publisher: Northland Publishing AZ
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998

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