Weave Little Stars Into My Sleep: Native American Lullabies

Overview

These beautiful and tender lullabies combine Native American themes with universal concerns of parenthood. Collected from the Native American peoples of the Northeast (Ojibwa), the Plains (Arapaho, Kiowa, Pawnee, Crow), the Southwest (Hopi, Acoma, Yuma), the Northwest (Kwakiutl, Haida, Tsimshian), and the Arctic (Inuit), the lullabies are illustrated with the gorgeous photographs of Edward S. Curtis, printed in duotone. Simply expressed yet deeply felt, these brief poems offer an intimate look at Native American ...

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Overview

These beautiful and tender lullabies combine Native American themes with universal concerns of parenthood. Collected from the Native American peoples of the Northeast (Ojibwa), the Plains (Arapaho, Kiowa, Pawnee, Crow), the Southwest (Hopi, Acoma, Yuma), the Northwest (Kwakiutl, Haida, Tsimshian), and the Arctic (Inuit), the lullabies are illustrated with the gorgeous photographs of Edward S. Curtis, printed in duotone. Simply expressed yet deeply felt, these brief poems offer an intimate look at Native American family life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Striking, carefully chosen photographs, originally published in the early 1900s, portray the spirit of the words. . . .The sepia-tone printing gives the photographs an authentic and classic look that could not be achieved with full color printing. Background information on Native American lullabies is located at the end, and the lengthy acknowledgement of source text will provide older children with ideas for further reading and research. Little ones will enjoy listening to the soothing words before bed.
Booklist, ALA

"These poem/songs offer a beautiful way to remind students of the daily lives and common humanity of some of this country's natives." School Library Journal

Children's Literature
This collection of Native American lullabies will delight young readers as well as parents. The lullabies, each from a different Native American tribe, highlight the richness of the culture of the people. With catchy phrases and universal messages, these lullabies demonstrate the similarities between Native American culture and others. A photograph compliments each lullaby, ranging from Kachina dolls to mothers and their babies. The inclusion of the photographs contributes to the overall quality of the lullabies as readers not only hear Native American lullabies but also see Native Americans in their indigenous dress and homeland. Philip selected the lullabies to show children that their favorite bedtime songs are similar to those of Native American children. These lullabies can soothe not only Native American children to sleep, but soothe all children to sleep. This book is suitable as a bedtime story book and also in a classroom. 2001, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 4 to 8.
—Skye Suttie
From The Critics
In such well-regarded collections as In a Sacred Manner I Live: Native American Wisdom (Clarion, 1997) and A Braid of Lives: Native American Childhood (Clarion, 2000), Neil Philip, a folklorist, has practically made a career out of combining traditional Native texts with old photographs. In his newest book, he has selected fifteen traditional lullabies from a variety of nations, including the Ojibwa, the Inuit, the Pawnee, the Acoma, the Kwakiutl, and the Hopi, and combined them with an equal number of stunning photographs of Native people taken between 1907 and 1909 by Edward S. Curtis, author of the classic twenty-volume, photo-and-text series The North American Indian (1907-1930). The lullabies themselves are varied in complexity, moving from the simplicity of the Arapaho chant Go to sleep, / Baby dear, / Go to sleep, / Baby. to the more metaphoric whimsy of the Kiowa song Baby's gone a-swimming, / Swimming down the stream. / His legs are made of driftwood, / Of driftwood, of driftwood. / His legs are like a bunny's— / Hop, bunny rabbit, hop! In an appendix, Philip discusses his sources in some detail, making it clear that "in adapting lullabies for this book...I have allowed myself some liberties with the source material." He has variously combined verses from different lullabies, added material "that is merely implied in the original," or reworked the lullabies into English verse form. Philip says, however, that he has made these changes with an eye toward maintaining the spirit and meaning of the originals. What he's ended up with is a series of poems which may be of little interest to folklorists because of the changes but which are invariably both beautiful and useful. Here's myfavorite, a Tsimshian lullaby which Philip calls "She Will Gather Roses." / This little girl / Was born to gather roses, / Wild roses. / This little girl / Was born to glean the rice, / Wild rice. / This little girl / Was born to pick strawberries, / Blueberries, elderberries, / All the wild berries. / This little girl / Was born to gather roses, / Wild roses. The only problem I can foresee with using this book at home or in a daycare setting is the fact that Curtis's black and white photographs, although beautiful as works of art and valuable as part of the historic record, are not particularly pretty. They portray parents and children who love each other but who live hard lives, lives which have left both smiles and wrinkles on their faces. In short, the photographs lack the soothing visual quality one associates with classic bedtime books. However, these authentic period photographs could be used in social studies classes for older children. These are lovely little poems and the photographs are striking. I look forward to trying the book out the next time I visit a daycare around naptime. 2001, Clarion, 32 pages,
— Michael Levy
School Library Journal
K Up-A short picture book, charming in its presentation. Eleven full-page, black-and-white photographs provide gorgeous accompaniment to the poetry. "Free renderings" of literal translations of native songs, the selections have been "reworked" for English-speakers' ears. Taken from more than 12 arctic and north- and southwest tribes, the lullabies are just what lullabies are the world over-quiet little ways to convince children to sleep. These poem/songs offer a beautiful way to remind students of the daily lives and common humanity of some of this country's natives. The title is from an Ojibwa song. Poems and photos on each spread are from the same locale (while not necessarily the same tribe). There are two pages of notes and a detailed list of sources, which includes material collected from 1844 to 1993. Unfortunately, there is no information offered about the renowned photographer, who spent 30 years among Native Americans in the early part of the 20th century.-Cris Riedel, Ellis B. Hyde Elementary School, Dansville, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618088560
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/17/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.22 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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