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YONDER MOUNTAIN by Kay Thorpe Bannon


A Cherokee Legend

adapted by Kay Thorpe Bannon & illustrated by Kristina Rodanas

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7614-5113-7
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Chief Sky, looking for a new leader for his people, sends three young men to the top of the distant mountaintop, to bring him back what they find there. One, who goes part way up the mountain, finds lodes of valuable stones, and brings one back. The second goes a little farther, and returns after he finds forests of healing herbs. The last man brings nothing in his hands—he returns late, torn and bleeding, and tells that from the top of the mountain he could see beyond the valley and to the next mountain, where he saw a smoke signal calling for help. Chief Sky makes this man chief, saying, “We need one who has seen beyond the mountain to other people who are in need.” Bannon, who worked with the late Reverend Bushyhead and heard him tell this story in English and Cherokee, retells it here in clear and straightforward prose that reads well aloud. She includes a few words in Cherokee, repeated in a short glossary at the end. Though she says, “The translations have been specially written using the English alphabet so that you can sound them out,” there is no pronunciation guide for such words as “Yo:na” or “Uwoha?li.” A foreword by Joseph Bruchac sets this in a historical context, pointing out that this teaching story is not among those popularized by James Mooney’s classic 1900 translations of Cherokee stories, but is a classic told from generation to generation. Rodanas’s (The Little Drummer Boy, 2002, etc.) realistic color pencil and watercolor illustrations in rich autumn colors depict the specific dress and homes of the early Eastern Woodland Cherokee. Though this isn’t a title that will jump out at young readers, teachers looking for Native American folktales will appreciate this as a group read-aloud. (Folktale. 7-10)