FIRST FIRE by Nancy Kelly Allen

FIRST FIRE

A Cherokee Folktale
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An unsourced Cherokee folk tale tells of the origin of fire.

The story is introduced by a picture of an adult regaling children by the fire; all are clad in buckskin. When a sycamore tree on an island is struck by lightning, the council of animals meets to figure out how to reach it and capture the fire burning there. Each volunteers to carry the fire back, venturing forth one by one. Raven’s white feathers are scorched black; Screech Owl’s eyes are burned red; Racer the snake twists and turns to escape the heat. Finally, Spider spins a bowl on her back and carries a coal back across the water, bringing fire to the animals. The illustrations are large and bold but stiff and amateurish-looking, with many close-ups of animal heads dominated by mouths that gape in terror. The water spider herself may be correctly depicted, but a closing note will only confuse readers by describing three different spiders (and one spiderlike insect) that walk on or swim in water and not telling them which one figures in the story. Information is also included about the Cherokee “then and now,” and fire; none of it is sourced. Although the tale itself is unsourced as well, versions of it are available on the Web.

An earnest effort but unengaging at best. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62855-207-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Arbordale
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2014




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenWHEN TURTLE GREW FEATHERS by Tim Tingle
by Tim Tingle
ChildrenTHE FIRST STRAWBERRIES by Joseph Bruchac
by Joseph Bruchac
ChildrenTHE LEGEND OF THE INDIAN PAINTBRUSH by Tomie dePaola
by Tomie dePaola