They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths

Overview

For countless generations, Native American storytellers have watched the night sky and told tales of the stars and the constellations. The stars themselves tell many tales—of children who have danced away from home, of six brothers who rescue a maiden from the fearful Rolling Skull, of the great wounded sky bear, whose blood turns the autumn leaves red, and many more.

A collection of legends about the stars from various North American Indian cultures, including ...

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Overview

For countless generations, Native American storytellers have watched the night sky and told tales of the stars and the constellations. The stars themselves tell many tales—of children who have danced away from home, of six brothers who rescue a maiden from the fearful Rolling Skull, of the great wounded sky bear, whose blood turns the autumn leaves red, and many more.

A collection of legends about the stars from various North American Indian cultures, including explanations of the Milky Way and constellations such as the Big Dipper.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With tea leaves and in the night sky, people have always tried to impose patterns on seemingly random groupings. This well-researched, thoughtful collection brings together star myths from such Native American tribes as the Navajo, Pawnee, Shasta and Micmac. Coyote is a bungler who causes trouble on every front: in one story he peeks into a jar and scatters the stars (and then is sent to wander, unwanted, across the earth); in another, he shoots arrows into the sky, which he and five Wolf Brothers ascendbut he descends alone. One of the stories about Pleiades tells of six wives who eat wild onions but are scorned by their husbands for the smell of their breath. They leave and climb a rope to the sky. Given the oral tradition of these tribes and the need to preserve the tales, this poetically rendered compilation is especially valuable. Text decorations show symbols, patterns, constellations and some of the many tricksters. Ages 10-14. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8 This volume of Native American star legends is well researched and told in language that lends itself well to reading aloud. The first two groups of stories deal with the Pleiades and the Big Dipper; thereafter, they are organized by geographic area. Each group has introductory notes about the tribes of the area and their general beliefs, providing a context for the legends which follow. Notes at the end of each section correlate Indian and Western names for constellations and stars whenever possible. In addition to tales from well-known tribes such as Navajo and Mohawk, there are selections from Tlingit, Wasco, Picuris, and other small groups. Coyote appears in many of the tales, causing trouble whenever he appears. Wolves, bears, eagles, and other animals also inhabit the storiesand the night sky. The book is decorated with black-and-white drawings of a variety of Indian symbols, of the constellations, and of animals and people, which lend life and movement to the pages. Similar to Star Tales (Walker, 1987) by Gretchen Will Mayo, this volume is more comprehensive and better documented, a book that will not only be useful for assignments, but provide many hours of reading and listening pleasure. Li Stark, North Castle Public Library, Armonk, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618809127
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/18/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 595,096
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray A. Williamson is a scientist and writer who is the author of many articles on Native American skylore and astronomy.

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