Uncegila's Seventh Spot: A Lakota Legend

Overview

Lyrical prose and spectacular paintings tell the dramatic story of Uncegila, an evil serpentlike creature who can be conquered only by shooting an arrow through her seventh spot. Brothers First-Twin and Blind-Twin journey to Ugly-Old-Woman, the shaman, for the magic arrows and advice that will help them make Uncegila's power their own. But that power comes at a price: constant servitude. Perhaps there is a better way for the tribe to grow strong.

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Overview

Lyrical prose and spectacular paintings tell the dramatic story of Uncegila, an evil serpentlike creature who can be conquered only by shooting an arrow through her seventh spot. Brothers First-Twin and Blind-Twin journey to Ugly-Old-Woman, the shaman, for the magic arrows and advice that will help them make Uncegila's power their own. But that power comes at a price: constant servitude. Perhaps there is a better way for the tribe to grow strong.

With the help of the shaman, Ugly-Old-Woman, twin brothers defeat an evil serpent, but they find that the powers they gain have a great cost.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Uncegila was an evil serpent-like creature longer than one hundred buffalo with a row of seven circles down her back. When young twin brothers, First Twin and Blind Twin, are aided by magical Ugly Old Woman in overcoming the monster, she tells them that her heart is behind the seventh circle. After many trials and mistakes the brothers manage to overcome Uncegila and her powerful heart. Blind Twin gets his sight and marries Ugly Old Woman, who becomes Beautiful Young Girl. A longer text and more complex than usual story make this picture book more appropriate for an older than average age group. The realistic, color paintings complement the legend well. An author's note on storytelling is included.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Twin brothers, one of whom is blind, set out to slay an evil monster, Uncegila, scourge of the Plains. They are aided by a shaman, Ugly-Old-Woman, whose eyes suggest inner beauty. She asks only that one of them hold her in a warm embrace. Blind Twin does so, and she becomes young and beautiful, freed from a witch's evil spell. The brothers continue their quest, and are successful. Now led by the dead monster's heart, their tribe will never know hunger, danger, or fear. The people eventually become slaves to the heart's whims. Finally, they reject it, and Blind Twin, whose sight has been restored, is reunited with the shaman. Rubalcaba has done a fine job of retelling this tale. The narrative flows smoothly, and the writing is crisp and lively. Descriptive phrases are sparse yet evocative. Toddy's vibrant oil paintings feature well-composed scenes, with bright color and an eye to detail. The themes of this tale are both universal and complex. At its center is an exciting, suspenseful tale of evil vanquished, but it is also a story of love and life's difficult moral choices.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Karen Hutt
In a picture book for older readers, twin brothers set out to kill the monster Uncegila, who has spoiled the hunting and poisoned the fields with her evil spells. With the help of a medicine woman, the brothers succeed, and by heeding the many demands made by the monster's heart, their tribe prospers as never before. But tiring of the heart's requests and their own calm lives, the brothers allow the villagers to see the heart, thereby destroying its power and causing them to lose their might as well. Based on George Eagle Elk's version, which appeared in Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz's "American Indian Myths and Legends" (1985), Rubalcaba's retelling adds a happy ending but keeps the tone and message of the original story. The colorful, often full-page artwork is well matched to the narrative.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395689707
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/18/1995
  • Pages: 28
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.79 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill Rubalcaba, author of A PLACE IN THE SUN, UNCEGILA'S SEVENTH SPOT, and ST. VITUS' DANCE, lives in Haddam, Connecticut.
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