Books by Gayle Ross

Released: Nov. 1, 1996

From the creators of How Turtle's Back Was Cracked (1995) comes a variant of the widespread Windigo tale, which can be heard from the Tlingit of northwest Canada to the Cree of the eastern woodlands. Ross demonstrates her colorful storytelling in a suspenseful tale about the Windigo, a giant stone creature who is ``taller than the tallest tree,'' can ``change his shape at will,'' and ``feeds on the people.'' When people begin to disappear, the Windigo is near. A young boy inspires the people to outwit the flesh-eating Windigo and reclaim their land; this gripping tale captures the imagination from the outset and quickly moves to a dramatic and surprising conclusion that is similar to that of The Windigo's Return (p. 1057) by Douglas Wood. Jacob conjures up appropriately spooky images rendered in deep-toned acrylics. Swirling skies and verdant forests dance around the people in a primitivist style, perfectly partnered with the pace and voice of the storyteller. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

A charming look at the time when the world was new. An old couple in the village notices that someone has been stealing their cornmeal during the night. Their grandson discovers that the thief is a giant spirit dog, which the villagers frighten away with drums and rattles; the dog jets across the sky, spilling cornmeal from its mouth that becomes the Milky Way. A simple, well-phrased text introduces ideas of respect for elders, cooperation, and reverance for the spirit world, without ever veering from the storyline. The acrylic illustrations show the villagers dressed up in clothes that were fashionable among the Cherokee in the early 1800s, and the scenes themselves have delicate patterns, especially apparent in the pictures of the women seen through the stalks of corn. The mouthless faces are deliberately uniform, but it means that young readers have only hair color—black, gray, or white—to find the characters featured in the story. Bruchac (Gluskabe and the Four Wishes, p. 222), Ross (with Bruchac, The Girl Who Married the Moon, 1994), and Stroud each provides notes. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1995

Turtle suffers a delusionary episode, believing he is a great hunter after finding dead at his feet a greedy wolf. Readers will know that Possum did the beast in, but regardless, Turtle can hardly contain himself and gloats at every opportunity. The wolves are not about to take this false press; a braggart, especially a fake, deserves a comeuppance. The result is an explanation of how the turtles' shells became cracked. It also demonstrates why Ross (How Rabbit Tricked Otter, 1994, etc.) is fast gaining a reputation as a fluid, entertaining storyteller. Turtle as mighty hunter—who'd have believed it? This old Cherokee tale has humor with a kick; Jacob's densely detailed, stylized acrylics add a bit of the surreal. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: June 30, 1994

Fifteen adventures of the vain, clever mischief-maker who is a central figure in Cherokee animal stories, including several pourquoi tales, a cognate of ``Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby,'' and a delightful ``Rabbit Races with Turtle'' in which, for once, Rabbit is bested not by plodding determination but by guile. Each has a full-page illustration enclosed in a patterned border, in deep, intense colors on a dark ground. Both Ross and Jacob are of Cherokee descent. Excellent for telling or reading aloud, to accompany Native American studies, or to compare with rabbit tales from other traditions, this is an entry in the Parabola Storytime Series, which presents stories and myths by leading storytellers, artists, and musicians of Native American tribes, vetted by tribal elders; print versions include illustrations ``from artists authentic to the tradition''; audio versions are available from HarperAudio. (Folklore. 6+) Read full book review >