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THE DEETKATOO by John Bierhorst

THE DEETKATOO

The Native American Stories About Little People

By John Bierhorst (Editor) , Ron Hilbert Coy (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-14837-9
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Bierhorst (The Dancing Fox, 1997, etc.) has gathered 22 tales from the First Peoples of America, from the Inuit to the Maya, Cherokee, Zuni, Seneca, and Lenape, among others, focusing on the little people. Children who have loved tales of gnomes and dwarves from European folklore will find a bit of treasure here. Bierhorst describes the stories as midway between hearsay and the true folktale: These short, unpolished tales celebrate “the idea that the powerless can be made powerful.” Little people reward both kindness and generosity; they sometimes marry regular folk; and they often provide food and more, e.g., in “How the Dark Dance Began,” a Seneca boy named Snow is taken by stealth to the little people, who serve him strawberry soup and teach him the songs and ceremony of the Dark Dance to bring back to his people. In addition to offering sources and lists of stories by theme, Bierhorst imbues the tellings with a sense of the immediacy: Their raw charm shines through. (b&w illustrations, not seen; bibliography, notes) (Folklore. 10-12)