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by David Bouchard & illustrated by David Jean & translated by Jason Jones

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-88995-458-8
Publisher: Red Deer Press

An acclaimed Métis storyteller recounts a Lenape pourquoi tale explaining the crow's shiny black color and croaking voice as the result of bringing the gift of fire.

Bouchard (Aboriginal Carol, 2008, etc.) begins by seating his audience in a circle on the earth, or at least the floor, and preparing them for quiet listening. In the leisurely style of his Lenape grandmother, the author describes how cold and uncomfortable the world was “[b]efore two-leggeds walked on Mother Earth.” Meeting in a Great Council, various animals offer to seek help from the Creator. Little Crow is chosen for her flying ability, her colorful plumage and her beautiful song. Returning from the Sky World with the gift of fire, she flies too close to the sun, charring her feathers and losing her voice. For her sacrifice, the Creator makes her now-black feathers shine with rainbow colors. The English text and Jones’ Ojibwe translation are set around lifelike animal portraits painted on traditional drums, echoing the circle theme established at the beginning. On the included CD, Bouchard and Jones read the text in English, Ojibwe and French. Their unhurried voices are accompanied by music by Manantial, a Native South American musical group.

This beautiful new edition of a familiar legend will be welcomed both for its pictures and its telling. (Folk tale. 7-12)