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Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy
     

Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy

by Ana Eulate, Nivola Uya (Illustrator), Jon Brokenbrow (Translator)
 

The boy with the feather headdress told stories without saying a word. The boy whose legs formed the shape of a heart communicated with that special language that comes from within. With his hands, his face, his smile and his eyes, he could communicate everything his listeners needed to hear. Walking Eagle's tales awoke deep emotions, conveyed a sense of solidarity

Overview

The boy with the feather headdress told stories without saying a word. The boy whose legs formed the shape of a heart communicated with that special language that comes from within. With his hands, his face, his smile and his eyes, he could communicate everything his listeners needed to hear. Walking Eagle's tales awoke deep emotions, conveyed a sense of solidarity, and created bonds between hands and hearts of different tribes that lasted forever.

Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy is a magical tale about nature and harmony between the different peoples of the world, reminding us of the power of stories to bring out our very best from within the deepest part of the human soul.

Lexile Level 1020L
Guided Reading Level P

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/28/2014
Born clubfooted (“his legs made the shape of a heart”) and without speech, Walking Eagle travels the countryside sharing stories with neighboring tribes: “Because Walking Eagle didn’t speak, he used his hands, his face, his smile and his eyes to communicate everything that his listeners needed to hear.” What this actually means is left vague, aside from a reference to Walking Eagle’s “vivid performances” and images of him smiling beatifically while mystical images swirl out from his body. Unfortunately, the story feels steeped more in “magical Native” stereotypes than in Comanche culture, concluding with a forced plea for global solidarity. Ages 6–up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
This is the legend of the Commanche Indian boy Walking Eagle, born with a clubfoot and unable to speak. His disabilities, however, are turned into magical skills as he learns to use his hands, face, smile, and eyes to tell stories to animals and humans. As he rides his pinto throughout the countryside, he learns about the natural world and developes a special relationship with all the flora and fauna that he meets. And the message that he brings to all the Indian tribes is one of peace and non-violence. The image of Walking Eagle, trying to join the hands of all tribes and people in non-violence, is particularly moving. And the basic theme of the legend—how one boy with physical challenges uses his abilities to bring people together in peace—is both inspiring and timely. The illustrations are stylized, boldly colored, arresting, and fit well with the surreal tone of the story. The writing is in free-form designs, with some words forming a circle, and others printed in special, enlarged fonts. The text itself contains less of a plot than a collection of statements and images, and for this reason may appear a little disjointed. It should be noted, however, that the use of this technique may be intentional in order to infuse the story with elements of American Indian oral folklore. In any case, this tale is a welcome addition to the canon of American Indian literature for young children. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 1–3—Described as "a magical tale about nature and harmony between the different peoples of the world," Eulate's attempt at creating a book about an inspiring Native American child only works in further stereotyping an already problematic area of children's literature. The most glaring stereotype is Eulate's emphasis on the spiritual communion of Native Americans and nature as the central theme of Walking Eagle's message. There is no indication as to why Walking Eagle is bowlegged and without speech; why do these characteristics make him such a powerful spiritual symbol of the story? There is little in the way of plot here: Walking Eagle is born and attempts to unite people with his signed messages of peace and harmony. The story conveys nothing beyond this—was he a real person? When did this story take place? None of these questions can be answered. Also, problematically, the illustrations also perpetuate gross stereotypes. Walking Eagle is depicted as always wearing a ceremonial headdress, which only shows both Eulate and Uyá's lack of research in Comanche customs and connection to Native American cultures. The illustrations also rely heavily on Native American symbols and spiritual items from across several tribes, resulting in a mishmash of nonsense. The lush colors are sure to lure most children in, but as this book has numerous problems, it is not recommended in any way. If perpetuating the idea to children (and adults) that Native Americans are an extinct group of people that used their spiritual beliefs to live in harmony with nature is not your inclination, then save the money spent on adding this book to your collection and seek out picture books that depict Native Americans as tribally distinct and culturally relevant, such as Cynthia Leitich Smith's Indian Shoes (2002) or Jingle Dancer (2000, both HarperCollins).—Beth Dobson, Weatherly Heights Elementary School, Huntsville, AL
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-19
A mute young storyteller in a feathered headdress draws all the tribes into a giant, mystical tepee to chant and drum and invite everyone in the world to hold hands. The tale is definitely laudable of purpose, though written in rhapsodic prose and grossly stereotypical in concept and presentation. It puts a lad born silent and clubfooted ("his legs made the shape of a heart") atop a flying pinto pony to bond with wild animals and then spread stories of the oneness of all creatures with "his hands, his face, his smile and his eyes." Giving him headdress feathers in gratitude, his enthralled Native American audiences gather in a tepee woven from a "bright, white magical thread," after which he continues "along the path," telling tales "without words." Said stories are vaguely depicted in the lyrically windswept illustrations as sparkling bubbles and glowing animal outlines issuing, oddly, from his mouth. Along with feathers dyed in rainbow colors, Uyá strews the pictures with floating dream catchers, carved poles of smiling totems and like tourist goods. Though ostensibly aimed at children, the most natural audience for this culturally tone-deaf offering is equally well-meaning and clueless adults. Purest kitsch. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9788415784364
Publisher:
Cuento de Luz
Publication date:
04/15/2014
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 5 Years

Meet the Author


Ana Eulate is the award-winning author of Gaspar y las zapatillas mágicas, Little Cloud Lamb, Life is Beautiful! (Honorable Mention as Best Children's Fiction Picture Book-English at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards) and The Sky of Afghanistan (Gold Medal Winner at the 2012 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards and First Place as Most Inspirational Children's Picture Book at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards).

Nivola Uyá is an award winning illustrator and audio-visual artist. Her books include Life is Beautiful! (Second Best Cover Illustration and Honorable Mention as Best Children's Fiction Picture Book-English at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards) and A Very, Very Noisy Tractor.

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