BEARS MAKE ROCK SOUP

AND OTHER STORIES

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. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-89239-172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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