A young Alaskan Dena’ina granddaughter rushes so much that her grandmother tells her about Chulyen, the raven.
Chulyen’s nose was once straight and beautiful. Being a trickster though, Chulyen often got into trouble. One day, he wakes without his nose (and is far too embarrassed ever to explain how it happened). Later, a Chida (old woman) finds Chulyen’s missing nose and uses it as a tool until it becomes bent and worn. Chulyen decides he should use his powers to change into a human, then creates an army of sand people to scare the villagers away. He hurriedly searches Chida’s house, finally finding his nose just as his magic is fading, and jams it back on—only later to discover that it’s crooked and will stay that way. Both authors—a mother and son—are of Dena’ina heritage and grew up listening to community elders’ stories. In this retelling, which is gently laced with Dena’ina vocabulary, readers learn not only a cautionary tale, but also facts about the culture, both as Chida uses Chulyen’s nose in her work and in a closing note and glossary. Dwyer’s illustrations range from soft tones when depicting the modern-day human characters to stark contrasting colors and bold patterns with Chulyen, the trickster raven.
Both entertaining and instructive, a refreshing breath of air from the far north. (further reading) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)