Kali's Song
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Kali's Song

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Renowned picture book author and illustrator Jeanette Winter brings us the enchanting story of a boy named Kali who lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Kali must learn to hunt, like the rest of the men in his tribe. But when Kali plucks the string on his bow, he forgets about shooting arrows, and makes music long into the night. Even the stars come close to listen....more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Schwartz & Wade
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(showing 1-30 of 313)
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Jim Erekson
A new genre? Prehistorical fiction? It's really hard to get into the mindset of a prehistorical society. Some of Miller's story seemed interesting and likely, and other bits had the current time written all over them. For example, the 'how was practice today' page made it seem like the boy had just gotten back from soccer. Accounts of cave painting, including Herzog's 'Cave of Dreams' make it seem likely that access to cave painting was arcane and esoteric, not just something mom did on the side...more
Beautiful picture book. My daughter loved the phrase "and the stars leaned close, to listen". The art is interesting. She currently has the book propped open and is painting her own version of her favorite page!
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: KALI'S SONG by Jeanette Winter, Schwartz & Wade, March 2012, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-87022-4
"All we need is music, sweet music
There'll be music everywhere"
-- Marvin Gaye, Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, "Dancing in the Streets"
One can so easily envision the events in KALI'S SONG really happening. Heck, I can imagine being in Kali's position and having it happen to me: A young boy in cave dwelling times, out practicing with his bow and arrow as dictated by Dad (the manly thin...more
Kali’s mother painted amazing paintings of animals on their cave walls. Soon Kali would be a man and so he started practicing with a bow and arrows. But on his first session of practice, he discovered that he could do something else with the bow: he could make music! Soon he was making music instead of practicing his shooting at all. When the day of the big hunt came, his bow was taut and his arrows sharp. The men and boys approached the huge mammoths, that were far larger and more impressive th...more
2 starred reviews: PW & Kirkus (5.15.12)

"...Winter’s rudimentary acrylic, pen and ink illustrations look a little like elementary-school dioramas (evergreens perch awkwardly on hillsides, frozen figures point with stubby fingers and mouths open, miniaturized hunting scenes seem almost silly), but her pictures (atop frayed, mottled handmade papers) brilliantly evoke primitive times. Each spread’s warmth, accessibility and kindliness make visiting a far-away century immensely pleasurable. Mute...more
Kali lived thousands of years ago. He is about to become a man and go on his first hunt. To help him prepare, his dad has given him his first bow and arrows. Kaili heads out to the woods to practice. But he learns that he can make a beautiful sound with his bow and his mouth. So every day he heads to the woods to practice. But he’s practicing his music and not his hunting skills. The day of the big hunt arrives. When he spots the mammoths in the distance he runs to a hill to get a closer look. B...more
Kyla C.
Thousands of years ago, when cave drawings were freshly painted, there lived a boy named Kali. While most boys his age practiced their hunting Kali was discovering his talents. Plucking on his bow Kali made sounds so mesmerizing even the stars came closer to listen. On the day of the big hunt all the men and boys discovered for themselves the majestic sound of Kali’s bow and how special Kali was. His people called him a shaman capable of charming mammoths and healing the sick. And into his old a...more
This did not wow me on first reading. I like Jeanette Winter, but maybe the topic of the story--the fictional prehistoric boy finding his musical and shamanic talents--was not as compelling as some of her other subjects. I did appreciate it as a quiet story of self-discovery.
Kali's Song is a delightful and humane surprise. Kali is a boy on the verge of manhood, who is given a bow and arrow to practice for the great hunt that will make him an adult in his tribe. Soon, he learns that his bow, when plucked, makes beautiful music that seems to make time stand still.

On the day of the great hunt, Kali begins playing his bow, enchanting a mammoth herd and the other hunters, who all drop their weapons to gather around and listen. No animals die that day, attesting to the po...more
Kali watches his mother paint animals on cave walls and discovers that he can use his bow to create beautiful music. The stars come closer to listen and the animals peacefully approach to hear the music. On the day of the big mammoth hunt, Kali plays his bow and the other hunters realize his great talent.

Jeanette Winter's illustrations are beautiful and I loved her exploration of what makes life beautiful. I do have a few questions -- Did cavemen really wear fur skirts? Did they hunt using bows...more
Maria Burel
I have to admit, this would not have been a top pick for me after the first read. I had actually picked it up from the library on another blogger’s recommendation. I was intending to read it for myself, not as a pick for Preschooler. But she found it in the library bag, and insisted (have you ever tried trying to sway a 3yo once a decision has been made??)

So we read it. She loved it, I was “eh”. But because she loved it, we read it again, and again, and again. And more we read it, the more I beg...more
This is another enchanting story from Jeannette Winter, a biography imagined about a cave boy thousands of years ago. He is given a bow and arrow in preparation for his coming-of-age first mammoth hunt, but discovers instead that the bow makes beautiful music if plucked and strummed just the right way. Its message that music can overcome violence, that long ago, some young child discovered music was possible is inspiring. I read it to some third graders last week, and they loved it. It is brief,...more
Nitza Campos
Kali needs to practice shooting a bow and arrow to be a hunter like his father. Kali enjoys plucking the string of his bow to produce music over shooting arrows. His music causes animals to still and the stars to come close to listen. During his first hunt, Kali begins to pluck the string that causes the mammoths to still. Upon seeing this, Kali's tribe sees that he can charm animals with his bow and that he must be a shaman.

Simple pictures with deep colors bring this story to life. Sweet pictur...more
I loved the illustrations!
I am an adult who loved this picture book and its underlying theme of becoming yourself even when others want you to be something else. The time period of this title is very unique, the time of caves and mastodons. The time was well depicted in the illustrations and how lovely to see the proud mother doing a cave painting of her young son's accomplishment. While this is a picture book I would use it with middle graders who might be studying this time period.
Sandy Brehl
This simple but effective story describes a young "cave" boy, his artistic mother, his training to be a hunter (and follow the path of traditional roles). When he discovers the potential of his bow he practices both to hunt and to play music. An odd but appealing story that can be taken at surface level or explored for deeper messages about the role of cultural arts in our survival and society.
Kali is being prepared for his first hunt. He is given a bow and arrows to practice and discovers that he enjoys playing music on his bow rather than shooting the animals. As he plays, the animals listen and the stars come close. His village sees his gift and looks to him for guidance in the years to follow. Each page is full of colorful illustrations that appear textured.
I love Jeanette Winter's style of historical fiction/picture book biography, however I would have loved a last page or an "Author's Note" page about the historical facts used in this story the way she has done with her other titles.
What was her inspiration? What research did she do? What pieces of history did she include as part of Kali's story based on her research?
Beautiful story about the power of music. Kali begins training as a hunter, but soon finds he prefers to practice making music with his bow and arrow instead of practicing his aim. Pictures are made to resemble cave drawings giving the entire story a folklore feel. Good read aloud for the school age crowd and worth a look if even just for the artwork.
Kali's mother paints pictures on a cave wall, but Kali finds a way to commune with nature through music. His gifts are recognized and respected by the tribe, and he grows up to be a shaman. This is a simple story with simple illustrations, but it provides a good example of the importance of the arts to the human condition.

Lovely book with a beautiful, compact design, that just fits nicely with the story. I love the collage in combination with illustrations. The story itself reminds in a way of The Story of Ferdinand, as Kali is expected to be a fierce hunter, but instead has astounding talents as a musician.
So I am enough of a non-fiction wonk that I would have appreciated an author's note about the history of string intsruments, and/or what we know about (or how much we don't know about) the origins of art in culture. Or even just a reminder that this is a made-up story.

Read with Frederick.
Victoria Clay
Kali's song is a beautiful book about a young who used his bow and arrow not to hunt,but to make music so lovely, the stars came to listen. This book could be used to talk about how what makes you different can also be what makes you great. It also has great illustrations.
Taming mammoths with music he creates from his bow, it's no surprise Kali becomes a shaman. Nice explanation, for a very young reader, of how art is of value and its ties to the spiritual and religious. A gentle lesson similar to Lionni's "Frederick."
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kali does not wish to practice with his bows and arrows the way he is told. Instead he makes music and discovers an inner peace that spread to the animals he should be hunting. What will his father say when the time comes for the great mammoth hunt?
Anastasia Tuckness
Prehistoric Kali prefers to make music with his bow rather than shoot animals with it. Simple story, lovely illustrations, very satisfying and not-too-cheesy ending. Could use this summer because the stars listen to his song.
Lu Benke
Not impressed. We're supposed to believe some prehistoric boy decided to play music instead of hunt with his bow and that his mom and everybody else, including the mammoths went with the flow? Didn't work for me.
Beautiful art, strange story.
Paul  Hankins
Colby Sharp shared this with me in the hotel room at the Michigan Reading Association conference. How could I forget to put this in my 2012 reads? Trying to get to 1000 and I don't put this one down?
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