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Storm Maker's Tipi

Storm Maker's Tipi

by Paul Goble
In the beginning, when the Great Spirit had made the first man and woman, he told Napi who was his helper:
"Stay close to Man and Woman and look after all their needs."
Man and Woman had no shelter at that time, but when Storm Maker blew the first winds of winter, they shivered, huddling close to their cooking fire. Napi knew they would need a


In the beginning, when the Great Spirit had made the first man and woman, he told Napi who was his helper:
"Stay close to Man and Woman and look after all their needs."
Man and Woman had no shelter at that time, but when Storm Maker blew the first winds of winter, they shivered, huddling close to their cooking fire. Napi knew they would need a shelter. While he was thinking about it, a yellow leaf from a cottonwood tree blew onto his head. "Yes!" he thought. "This leaf has the shape of a good shelter!"

Look at a cottonwood leaf; you will see it is shaped like Napi's tipi.

His thunder and downpours and terrible blizzards once endangered all the children and grandchildren of first Man and first Woman. Yet legend tells of the time when Storm Maker was considerate.

Two Blackfoot hunters, Sacred Otter and his son, Morning Plume, were caught suddenly and nearly blinded on the plains by wind-driven snow. Cowering, they huddled beneath a buffalo skin and there, with his boy at his side, Sacred Otter was given a dream. Whether sleeping or awake, for he could not be sure, he saw an immense, mystic tipi -- Storm Maker's own -- and then heard a voice which changed the lives of his people from that day on.

In this book, Paul Goble tells of how tipis were first granted to the Blackfoot people and then, in a dramatic rendering of an old myth, tells of why the painted designs on tipis have come to possess their meaning and power.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Native American legend and Goble's (The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses) award-winning artwork coalesce to bring another mythic tale grandly to life. Recounting the origin of both Blackfoot tipis and their symbolic designs, Caldecott-winner Goble employs several distinct media: black-and-white diagrams, photographs and his trademark watercolor and gouache paintings. Napi, the Great Spirit's helper, was inspired by the shape of a leaf to provide the first man and women with a tipi for shelter. Eloquently melding geometric and naturalistic free-form designs, Goble places this initial story inside a large painting of a cottonwood leaf and demonstrates its inspiration by superimposing a tipi diagram over the leaf shape at the bottom of the page. A spread then gives intricate step-by-step instructions of how to pitch a tipi. Through the sweeping panoramas of his watercolors, Goble next relates the story of how spirit paintings came to exist on Blackfoot tipis. When Sacred Otter and his son become trapped in a blizzard, the man dreams that he visits Storm Maker's tipi. Full-spread vertical views of the tipi's exterior and interior reveal Goble at his finest, intermingling texture, form and color. "When the warm weather returns, paint one just like it. Then your family will be safe from storms always," Storm Maker commands. Goble's instructive storytelling prepares readers for this stunning visual adventure. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In relating the legend of the tipi and its sacred symbols, Goble begins with detailed diagrams for the actual construction of Blackfoot tipi. These instructions and other gifts were revealed by Napi, helper of the Great Spirit. Moving into his classic illustrations of Native American lore, Goble tells the tale of Sacred Otter who had a dream vision when Storm Maker struck while he was on a hunting trip with his son. The blizzard caused them to seek shelter under the fresh skin of a recently killed buffalo. Large vertical pictures cause the reader to turn the book lengthwise to grasp the magnitude of Sacred Otter's vision as he approached Storm Maker's decorated tipi. Storm Maker directed Sacred Otter to paint his own tipi with the same symbols to provide protection from devastating storms. A photograph near the end shows Blackfoot tipis pitched according to these directions even today. This is followed by a pattern to photocopy and make into a model of a tipi. A valuable resource for the study of this Native American tribe. 2001, Atheneum, $18.00. Ages 6 to 11. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Goble borrows the story of how Napi taught Man and Woman to pitch their tipi from the Siksika (Blackfeet) Indians of northern Montana and uses it as the framework for this picture book. It recounts the time Storm Maker saved Sacred Otter, a leader of his people, and showed him the designs for his tipi. The artist's familiar, colorful graphic style is well suited to this text. Directions for making a paper tipi as well as line drawings detailing Napi's instructions are included, as is a full-spread, color photograph of a contemporary summer camp with tipis. For those who found Goble's Star Boy (Aladdin, 1991) popular, this will be a welcome addition. It could be used in storytime with his other tales or teamed with Harriet Taylor's When Bear Stole the Chinook (Farrar, 1997), or used with Bonnie Shemie's House of Bark: Tipi, Wigwam and Longhouse (Tundra, 1990) for a curricular unit on dwellings or homes. Teamed with the autobiographical Hau Kola (Richard Owens, 1994), it could be part of an author study on Goble or coupled with E. Barrie Kavasch's Blackfoot Children and Elders Talk Together (PowerKids, 2001), it could be part of an in-depth look at the Siksika.-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Crossing the boundary between the folktale and the informational book, Goble not only tells and illustrates a story based upon a Blackfoot legend, but also provides detailed black-and-white drawings of the construction and pitching of a tipi. There is a diagram for a model tipi that can be photocopied and constructed out of paper, and there are photographs of actual tipis. The legend of the origin of the Storm Maker's or Snow Tipi is framed by factual information and other bits of traditional lore. In the story itself, Sacred Otter and his son Morning Plume are overtaken by a storm while on a buffalo hunt. They take refuge from the blizzard behind the body and under the fresh skin of the buffalo they have killed. During their ordeal, Sacred Otter has a vision in which he encounters a magnificent tipi, within which is Storm Maker, Bringer of Blizzards, who promises to save Sacred Otter and his son. He tells them that when warm weather comes, they are to paint a similar tipi that will keep them safe from storms. He also tells Sacred Otter to hang bunches of horsehair by the door of his tipi to bring him good luck. The illustrations, while always unmistakably Goble's, exemplify a variety of styles, ranging from stylized designs to almost impressionistic landscapes, to the familiar, flat, detailed images for which Goble is best known. Beautifully designed and imaginatively executed (with two openings that must be turned sideways), there are numerous fascinating details in the illustrations that extend and explain the story as well as provide information about the culture of the Indians of the Great Plains. (source notes, further reading) (Picture book/folklore. 7-11)

Product Details

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.41(d)
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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