Yonder Mountain

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This traditional Cherokee "lesson" story, told by an elder of the tribe, is not so dramatic as some folktales, but exudes a quiet power. An ancient chief, looking for a successor, sends three young men of the tribe to a distant mountaintop to bring back what they find there. Without reaching the peak, the first finds glittering quartz crystals, the second medicinal herbs (pictured as coneflowers or echinacea), while the last candidate returns empty-handed. He, however, had reached the summit and seen a distant smoke signal from people in distress. The chief chooses him because of his compassion for those in need. Rodanas's illustrations (watercolor and colored pencil) begin with panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains, gradually homing in on the village and on the chief, wearing his voluminous ceremonial robe of turkey feathers and a headdress decorated with waving white feathers. The setting must be the time before contact with white settlers, since there is no hint of European influence. The chief's dress seems authentic (except that wild turkey feathers are tipped with chestnut rather than white) and his plumes conform to a description of a chief's headdress with white crane feathers. The young men, however, would more likely have had shaven heads, many tattoos, and been dressed in breechclouts rather than the long tunics shown. The autumnal foliage of browns and oranges, the round huts, and the eagle soaring over a vista of misty, blue-tinged mountains gives a pleasing sense of the magnificent Cherokee homeland. There is a foreword by Joseph Bruchac. 2002, Marshall Cavendish, Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-An aging chief realizes the time has come to choose a successor. He calls three young men to him, and sets them the following test: "I want you to go to the mountaintop. Bring back to me what you find there." The first two leave the mountain when they are only part way up because they have found things of value that will improve the lives of their people. Only the third completes the journey, returning with the news that he has seen a smoke signal from another tribe in dire need of help. The old chief declares him the most worthy to be the new leader, and places his chief's robe on his shoulders. Joseph Bruchac's foreword gives a brief history of the Eastern Cherokee Nation, its tradition of lesson stories, and some background on this particular tale, previously unpublished but handed down from generation to generation in Bushyhead's family. The illustrations, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, effectively capture the Smoky Mountains in all their autumnal glory. However, while Rodanas does her usual capable job of representing Native culture with respect and authenticity in terms of dress, artifacts, etc., her illustrations are marred by the fact that the faces of the three young men are virtually identical. This flaw aside, the book makes a solid contribution to folklore shelves in need of more and better representation in this area.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Chief Sky, looking for a new leader for his people, sends three young men to the top of the distant mountaintop, to bring him back what they find there. One, who goes part way up the mountain, finds lodes of valuable stones, and brings one back. The second goes a little farther, and returns after he finds forests of healing herbs. The last man brings nothing in his hands—he returns late, torn and bleeding, and tells that from the top of the mountain he could see beyond the valley and to the next mountain, where he saw a smoke signal calling for help. Chief Sky makes this man chief, saying, "We need one who has seen beyond the mountain to other people who are in need." Bannon, who worked with the late Reverend Bushyhead and heard him tell this story in English and Cherokee, retells it here in clear and straightforward prose that reads well aloud. She includes a few words in Cherokee, repeated in a short glossary at the end. Though she says, "The translations have been specially written using the English alphabet so that you can sound them out," there is no pronunciation guide for such words as "Yo:na" or "Uwoha?li." A foreword by Joseph Bruchac sets this in a historical context, pointing out that this teaching story is not among those popularized by James Mooney’s classic 1900 translations of Cherokee stories, but is a classic told from generation to generation. Rodanas’s (The Little Drummer Boy, 2002, etc.) realistic color pencil and watercolor illustrations in rich autumn colors depict the specific dress and homes of the early Eastern Woodland Cherokee. Though this isn’t a title that will jump out at young readers, teachers looking for Native American folktales will appreciate this as agroup read-aloud. (Folktale. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761451136
  • Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    Good Message

    YONDER MOUNTAIN is a traditional Cherokee tale with the "Chief seeks a successor" storyline. The eventual successor is the one who overlooks the good of the tribe and instead seeks to help others.It includes many translations in Cherokee of simple words and character names. As a teacher, this book would be good to include in a service learning unit, and could be incorporated in many other ways.

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