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Kali's Song

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  233 Ratings  ·  62 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 (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 383)
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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
Chad Elliott
Kali's song is a very cool book with a very empowering message. This book involves a little boy who lives in an ancient era of cavemen and woolly mammoths. As he is growing up, Kali is expected to hunt the woolly mammoths, and he is given a bow to practice. What Kali discovers he can do with his bow is truly remarkable, and the results of that discovery give way to a very advanced way of thinking. While this book is characteristic of another culture, it is nonetheless very relatable to everyone. ...more
Alyssa Becker
Kali's Song; written by Jeanette Winter; Copyright 2012, 32 pg.
*Historical Fiction #1: Picture Book*

This book tells a wonderful story of a young boy, Kali growing up in his African community. The culture of this community holds his mother as a cave-painter and the men as hunters. As Kali becomes older, he is given a bow and arrow and is expected to practice shooting it. However, Kali finds a different way to use his bow and still interact with the wild animals.

I really enjoyed reading this book
Miss Ryoko
I won this book at a literature training I did. I like these sort of historical picture books. They're always very interesting, and there is something very special about them that I can't quite explain. I enjoyed it.
Apr 16, 2012 Katharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
The Styling Librarian
Moving, beautiful, lyrical, quiet, peaceful, fabulous celebration of individuality and following your own dream.
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
Apr 25, 2012 Tasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Jul 02, 2016 Tima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
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.
Oct 23, 2012 Kyla C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents/ Teachers/ Students
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.
Mar 18, 2012 Peacegal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humane-education
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
Apr 28, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, picture, 2012
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
Maria Burel
Apr 15, 2012 Maria Burel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Debby Baumgartner
Kali lived thousands of years ago in a cave. When he is given a bow and arrows to practice how to hunt, he discovers he can make beautiful music with the bow.
Sep 30, 2014 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A: 5-8

Prehistoric fiction -- should be hunter but plays music and becomes shaman.
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
Apr 19, 2012 Nitza Campos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
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
Danielle Mootz
Beautiful illustrations in this book.
Sep 11, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 13, 2013 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 03, 2012 Laura5 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Sarah Adamson
This is a beautiful story of art conquering violence. Set in a time that students do not get much exposure to, this book opens doors to a new subject area of ancient civilizations and even their everyday lives. This story also celebrates the fact that just because a student is set to be a "hunter", does not mean that he or she cannot be a "musician".
Mar 31, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 23, 2012 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 13, 2012 Lorna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks

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.
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