Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

by Joseph Bruchac, Thomas Locker
     
 

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"Unusual and intelligent...An exemplary introduction to Native American culture with its emphasis on the importance of nature." —Publishers Weekly

In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons. These lyrical poems and striking paintings celebrate the wonder

Overview

"Unusual and intelligent...An exemplary introduction to Native American culture with its emphasis on the importance of nature." —Publishers Weekly

In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons. These lyrical poems and striking paintings celebrate the wonder of the seasons, from the Northern Cheyenne's Moon of the Popping Trees to the Big Moon of the Abenaki.

"This book instills a spiritual respect for our land and an appreciation for the people who were its first caring guardians." —American Bookseller

A Notable Children's Trade Book in the Language Arts
An IRA Teacher's Choice Book
A Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To many Native Americans, the 13 cycles of the moon represent the changing seasons and the passage of time. Each moon has its own special name that, while varying among the tribal nations, is consistent with the legend that the 13 scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to these moons. The authors present 13 poems that take readers through the year, from the ``Moon of Popping Trees''--when the ``cottonwoods crack with frost''--to the ``Big Moon'' of the Abenakis. The book's effective design consists of verses in vertical columns at the left of each spread, with the remainder occupied by Locker's ( Family Farm ; Catskill Eagle ) typically lush artwork. His oil paintings are eye-catching in their depth of color reflecting dramatic seasonal changes. Trees, skies and woodland creatures are rendered in vivid hues that combine to produce an enthralling vision. This unusual and intelligent book is an exemplary introduction to Native American culture with its emphasis on the importance of nature. All ages. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This collection of poems is based on Native American legends about the moons of the year and the turtle who carries the mystery of the moons in the thirteen scales on its back. Each moon has a name and stories associated with it. Selections in this beautifully illustrated book come from the Cheyenne, Cree, Huron, Micmac and other tribes across America. Award winning artist Locker has created soft toned oils that closely match the text and spread over one and a half pages.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-- The book opens with an Abenaki storyteller explaining to his grandson that just as there are always 13 scales on ``Old Turtle's back,'' there are 13 moons in a year, each of which has a name and a story. The poetic tales and corresponding paintings that follow represent myths or legends of different Native American tribes. Although the language of these poems is not particularly memorable or childlike, it does evoke images and passes on some of the traditions of the native people and their closeness to the natural world. The cadence is that of an adult explaining things to a child. Both text and illustrations have a distancing effect on readers. Locker's large, dark paintings stand parallel to or in tandem with the poems but are not integral to them. They create a mood and capture portions of the text, encouraging viewers to look ``at'' rather than ``into'' these images. There is a sense of vastness in these paintings, and sometimes a harshness, but little of the lushness or the warmth of the land. Although the cover illustration of the turtle is inviting and the large format attractive, these are poems that will probably not entice most youngsters on their own. They can be appreciated, however, when presented by an adult and will be a welcome addition to units on Native American cultures. --Kay E. Vandergrift, School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698115842
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
204,304
Product dimensions:
7.95(w) x 10.19(h) x 0.09(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

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