Books by Virginia A. Stroud

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 >
DOESN'T FALL OFF HIS HORSE by Virginia A. Stroud
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

Saygee's great-grandfather is nearly a hundred years old, and when she comes upon him staring out the window of his room, he tells her the story of his Kiowa Indian name, ``Doesn't Fall Off His Horse.'' It is the tale of a raid he and a friend made on a neighboring Comanche camp to steal some ponies and to ``make a coup,'' which he tells Saygee ``is like a game of tag—a very serious and dangerous game that we played to embarrass and show dishonor to the enemy tribes.'' Saygee's great-grandfather is shot in the neck by a Comanche bullet during the coup, but he doesn't fall off his horse, hence his name. He makes it back to camp and is nursed back to health. An aura of sadness hangs over this well-told story, which is as much about what it's like to grow old and look back at one's youth as it is about Kiowa traditions. Stroud, a Cherokee who was adopted into a Kiowa family, writes beautifully about her adoptive family, and her colorful paintings provide a vibrant backdrop for this unusual book. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9) Read full book review >