Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Verla Kay, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23550-7
Publisher: Putnam

Although a beautiful combination of history and poetry, Kay’s (Tattered Sails, 2001, etc.) tale of displaced Native Americans will be difficult, for the traditional picture book audience to comprehend without knowledge of the Nez Percé Native tribe’s history. Flat, stylized illustrations, beautiful as they are, do little to bring the story into the realm of the young reader. Those familiar with the plight of the Nez Percé will find the clipped, rhyming text to be a poetic capsule of the historical plight of a people driven from their land and forced onto a reservation after defeated efforts to defend their homeland. Each word is filled with meaning and glistens in the context of the overall depiction of the era. (“Gold sun rising, / Horned lark sings. / Eagle soaring, / Spreading wings. / Bushes rustle, / Horses snort. / White men riding, / Far from fort.”) Relief block prints surround the words with strong clean lines and restrained color. The prints are technically sophisticated and display superb craftsmanship. The art will attract many, but the major appeal will be for those with a firm grasp of the history of the Nez Percé. (author and illustrator notes) (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)