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Wonders of the Native American World

by Ari Berk & Carolyn Dunn

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9372-3
Publisher: Abrams

Arresting in its presentation, with sharp reproductions of artifacts from many centuries and contemporary artworks pictured on beige parchment-like pages, this book is a delight for the eyes, but difficult to comprehend. The text is a rich mixture of Dunn’s poetry and folk tales and myths from almost 50 North American tribal groups, accompanied by scholarly explanations of these stories and the traditions that engendered them. It is fascinating, yet too dense for the intended child audience. The authors—Berk an academic folklorist and Dunn a Cherokee/Muskogee/Seminole poet, journalist and musician—tell readers repeatedly that the many peoples of Native America must be respected for their knowledge, their care of the earth, their many ancient traditions and their ability to fuse their heritage with the challenges of living in an often hostile environment. The stories themselves are retold with a fine sense of oral language, but librarians, teachers and parents will need to assist young readers in finding the nuggets of gold in this rich but sometimes arid compendium. (list of tribes and nations mentioned, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-adult)