THE RACCOON AND THE BEE TREE by Charles A. Eastman

THE RACCOON AND THE BEE TREE

Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Prairie Tales series’s fourth title draws its text from Wahpeton Dakota doctor, activist and writer Ohiyesa/Charles Eastman’s Wigwam Evenings (1909), a collection edited by his wife, educator, author and activist Elaine Goodale Eastman. The tale about a self-absorbed, gluttonous raccoon who learns that “the midnight hunter steals at his own risk” was inspired by Eastman’s childhood memories of Sioux stories and his readings of European fables. While it is a treat to see the Eastmans’ work reissued in Wigwam Evenings’ centenary, Turnbull’s saturated art tends toward garish, as background colors obscure focal characters—orange squirrels blend into an orange sky, for example. That the art does not place the story in its sociohistorical context is ameliorated by the inclusion of an introduction with biographical information about the Eastmans and a closing bibliography. All in all, a recommended acquisition, with some qualms about aesthetic success and with hopes that it will inspire inquiry into the Eastmans’ lives and work. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9798940-8-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: SDSHS Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2009