In Fradin's enlightening work, readers will learn about the real Hiawatha. This courageous, kind man--and inspiring speaker--ensured the survival of his people for 300 years after his death. The author recounts the childhood of this celebrated Iroquois Indian, the tragic murder of his family, stet comma and the incredible strength and forgiveness he found within himself to become a peacemaker between his people's fighting tribes. Hiawatha and a Canadian Indian named Degandawida encouraged the Iroquois to form their own government, which , in turn, created tranquility and humanity throughout that nation. Unlike literary works that describe Hiawatha as godlike or supernatural, this text accurately explains the role he has played in our history. Although Fradin's research and intent are admirable, his prose evinces a flat, pedestrian tone. And while some of the historical illustrations prove absorbing, others seem dry and uninformative. Ages 7-11. (Sept.)
Gr 2-4-- In this brief biography, Fradin shows what Hiawatha's life might have been like by drawing on what is actually known about the Indians of the Longhouse of his time. He clearly labels what is surmised, legend, and known fact as he tells of the adult Hiawatha's role as a peacemaker and as one of the founders of the Iroquois Confederacy. He also mentions aspects of this confederacy that the founders of our nation incorporated into the U. S. Constitution. The book is copiously illustrated with both black-and-white and full-color photographs of Indian artifacts and of paintings and sculpture by Native American artists, all relevant to the text. This attractive volume helps fill the need for good, readable biographies for this age group. McCiard's Hiawatha (Silver Burdett, 1989) has imagined conversations, in quotation marks, a technique that may lead to confusion. --Li Stark, North Castle Pub . Lib . , Armonk, NY
Debunking the false stories of Hiawatha popularized by Longfellow's poem, Fradin tries to get at the truth about the real Iroquois leader who lived about 500 years ago. What the author finds in his careful search is a Hiawatha who was in many ways more remarkable, as well as more human, than the romantic legend. It's hard to get exact facts, and Fradin is scrupulous in distinguishing what is known, what is surmised, and what is legend. It seems that Hiawatha was a great peacemaker. Despite his terrible grief when his wife and children were murdered by his enemy, Hiawatha sought not revenge but community, and by his example he brought five warring tribes together in a national federation with a form of representative government that "many historians claim" became a model for the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps the best part of the book is the illustrations, many of them in color, almost all by Indian artists, collected from museums across the country: they show various views of Hiawatha in his grief and in his struggle.