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Sitting Bull Remembers

Sitting Bull Remembers

by Ann Turner, Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

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In this dark room,
in this place of fences, strange smells,
and men with yellow eyes where finally I am caught and cannot get free,
I close my eyes and am home again. . . .

Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa band of the Sioux Nation was a warrior, a visionary, a horseman and hunter, and a man who had a deep affinity with nature.


In this dark room,
in this place of fences, strange smells,
and men with yellow eyes where finally I am caught and cannot get free,
I close my eyes and am home again. . . .

Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa band of the Sioux Nation was a warrior, a visionary, a horseman and hunter, and a man who had a deep affinity with nature. Above all, he is remembered as an extraordinary leader who fought for the freedom of his people and helped to preserve their spirit, even in a time of great tragedy.

Chosen to be the war chief of the Sioux Nation in 1869 as battles with the United States government increased, he resisted the white soldiers who threatened to exterminate his people, their claim to the land, and their entire way of life.

From the acclaimed author and illustrator of Abe Lincoln Remembers comes an unforgettable fictional portrait of Sitting Bull, looking back on the events that shaped his life and fate.

Historically accurate, powerfully evocative paintings and words are as moving as the story they tell.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A somber picture of the legendary Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, crouched alone within the confines of a dark room after defeat, opens this lyrical biography: "In this place of fences, strange smells/ . . . where finally I am caught/ and cannot get free,/ I close my eyes and am home again." With a turn of the page, readers go from near blackness to a landscape of bright sky and water, where Sioux families gather outside tipis and horses gallop in the background. In realistic detail, Minor (previously paired with Turner for Abe Lincoln Remembers) paints close-ups (e.g., of a young Sitting Bull battle-ready atop horseback or hunting buffalo), as well as panoramic illustrations (Custer's troops overrunning a Sioux winter encampment in the Black Hills). Sometimes pictographic symbols (based on Sitting Bull's own pictographs) float above the main scene to represent the Sioux's visions. For example, several uniformed soldiers ride upside-down across the top of one spread, denoting a dream Sitting Bull had prior to the Battle of Little Bighorn. In it he sees Cavalry troops riding this way, which he correctly interprets as an omen of the soldiers' deaths. The poignant final scene shows a meadowlark overlooking the empty plains ("It is all gone," says Turner's Sitting Bull, "and only my voice is left"); the significance of the imagery is explained in historical endnotes, as Sitting Bull "claimed to hear words in a meadowlark's song." Turner and Minor's dramatic and insightful work ensure that readers will listen for Sitting Bull's voice, too. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6
In this first-person, fictionalized account, Sitting Bull is living in captivity near the end of his life and remembering his past. He longs for the life that Native Americans enjoyed before the coming of the Wasicu , the white people. He talks about the Sioux victory at Little Bighorn and the destruction of the buffalo herds. Turner's writing is lyrical, almost poetic. The story is poignant and sympathetic to the plight of the Native peoples who were driven from their land and forced to live on tiny reservations. They are depicted as brave and noble victims, while white people are the greedy villains who want only gold. The illustrations give a romanticized view of Native American life on the Great Plains, and are similar in style to those in Joseph Bruchac's A Boy Called Slow (Philomel, 1995). Minor includes pictograph images superimposed on the representational art to suggest Sitting Bull's feelings and vision. The well-crafted art adds drama and depth to the story. This book is a mood piece that communicates the injustice of Native American oppression in the 1800s. Those looking for an unbiased, fact-filled account of Sitting Bull's life must look elsewhere, for example, to Ann Todd's Sitting Bull (Capstone, 2002).
—Donna CardonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Minor's well-rendered, gorgeous illustrations beg for a text that informs and emulates the lyric language of the Sioux. Short, uninterestingly constructed sentences portray Sitting Bull's encounter with Long Hair (Custer), his eventual flight to Canada and finally his return to the government-designated reservation at Fort Yates. The author purports to speak from the mouth of Sitting Bull, reminding the reader that this is a fictionalized portrait, an attempt to convey what Sitting Bull might have been thinking about the events in his life, but she fails to do so convincingly. And while one can appreciate the beauty of the ledger-style illustrations integrated with the more dimensional renderings, there is no explanation of the significance of the butterfly on Sitting Bull's hat in the illustration on the cover and the first interior spread. That illustration seems to have been based on a historic photo by N. W. Photo Co. (Chadron, Neb.) now in the collection of E.A. Brininstool (Los Angeles). The historical note is informative and quite interesting, but the note and the illustrations will not be enough to redeem this and make it a priority purchase. Useful only as an introduction to the history. (Picture book. 6-10)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
AD1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ann Turner is the author of many novels, picture books, and poetry collections for young children. Her novel A Hunter Comes Home was an ALA Notable Children's Book, and her first picture book, Dakota Dugout, received the same honor. Among her other books are Abe Lincoln Remembers, an NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies, a Reading Rainbow selection. Ms. Turner lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, with her family.

Wendell Minor has illustrated numerous award-winning picture books, including Sierra by Diane Siebert, Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, and America the Beautiful, based on the poem by Katharine Lee Bates. Mr. Minor's art has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Norman Rockwell Museum, among other prestigious institutions. He lives in rural Connecticut with his wife and their two cats, Cindercat and Sofie.

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