A rare variant of a nearly universal myth, with powerfully evocative illustrations.

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PEACE DANCER

From the Northwest Coast Legends series , Vol. 4

A Tsimshian artist links a flood tale from his village to a frequently performed potlatch dance.

As in Vickers and Budd’s earlier Northwest Coast retelling, Cloudwalker (2014), richly colored woodblock-print illustrations add strong notes of mysticism and ritual to a tersely related episode. After a group of children heedlessly captures a crow and pulls out its feathers, floods cover the land and drive all the people into canoes. Their frantic prayers go unanswered until the Chief of the Heavens, seeing that the birds have no place to alight, restores peace to the land by letting the waters recede. The humbled people rebuild, renew their respect for all life, and commemorate the event forever after with a Peace Dance that is marked by shaking out eagle down for remembrance. The full-page illustrations begin with idyllic scenes of shorelines and boats, all overlaid with ghostly Northwest Coast motifs. Later, more-turbulent views of silhouetted figures amid swirling waves give way to a climactic double-page spread panorama of a restored, sunlit landscape rich in flora and distinctively stylized fauna. The story will likely be new to readers outside the culture; Vickers closes with a note on his own lineage and how he learned both the dance and the tale directly from elders.

A rare variant of a nearly universal myth, with powerfully evocative illustrations. (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55017-739-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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