BEARS MAKE ROCK SOUP by Lise Erdrich

BEARS MAKE ROCK SOUP

and Other Stories
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Short, original tales and paintings celebrate Native American heritage. Fifield and Erdrich (enrolled in Oneida and Ojibway tribes) are young women already known for their work in other venues. Here, Erdrich has written original stories to accompany Fifield’s paintings. Her brief tales, each a few paragraphs, tell of Plains animals and people helping each other, as in “Crows Cawed a Warning,” or “Bears Return the Lost Children.” Her language is natural and lyrical, and reads well aloud: “Sky Chief is like a giant eagle. Some know him as Thunderbird, the messenger of the Creator. His voice is the first gigantic crack! of thunder in a storm, and his flashing eyes are the lightning.” Fifield’s watercolors, in vibrant earth tones, cover half or two-thirds of each wide spread. Her piecework-like compositions solidly straddle the line between realism and imagination. The layout gives equal weight to story and picture, encompassing one tale fully on a spread, though the spot picture and phrase in bold in each margin, reproduced directly from the text and picture on the same spread, add nothing but a visual anchor. Though clearly based on a tradition of Native American lore, Erdrich gives no indication that these are anything but her original stories; and neither the stories nor pictures refer to any one specific tribe. Taken as a work of fiction, this is still evocative of traditions very much alive today, though not widely evident in children’s literature. If it’s not something many children are likely to pick up on their own, this browseable collection can be entered anywhere and will be appreciated as a read-aloud for groups or one-on-one. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-89239-172-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Children's Book Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2002




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