GIFT HORSE by S.D. Nelson


A Lakota Story
Age Range: 4 - 8
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From newcomer Nelson, a starry-eyed but exhilarating story of a Lakota boy coming of age on the Plains during the 19th century. The boy receives a horse from his father, a gift of great symbolic freight; it is on this horse, Storm, that the boy will travel to manhood. The boy explains the elements that go into becoming a Lakota warrior: he must learn to think before acting, to show imagination in the hunt, to be invited to attend a sweat lodge, and to go on a vision quest. Two major acts of courage are also involved: the taking of a buffalo and a confrontation with the enemy. The last is simply contact with, not the killing of, an enemy of his people, carried out during a raid to recapture horses, including Storm, stolen from the Lakota. Nelson explains every act within its spiritual context, which tends to slow the story, but the acts are so plainly good—thanking the buffalo for his gift, living in harmony with the earth and its creatures, etc.—that they are worthy of inclusion. The artwork is modeled after the ledger book drawings of the Plains Indians, as is explained in an author’s note, which further elucidates the other stages of the boy’s entering manhood. An impressive debut. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8109-4127-9
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1999


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