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The Legend of the Bluebonnet: An Old Tale of Texas
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The Legend of the Bluebonnet: An Old Tale of Texas (Legends)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  4,457 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
This favorite legend, based on Comanche lore, tells the story of how the bluebonnet, the state flower of Texas, came to be. A Reading Rainbow Review Title. An American Bookseller Pick of the List Book. A Booklist Children's Editors' Choice. A NCSS Notable Children's Trade Book. Full color.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 16th 1996 by Turtleback Books (first published March 25th 1983)
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Holley Gray I would say third-fourth grade because students this age will be able to wrap their mind around themes more clearly!
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Sep 05, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Another one we had to read for school but we really liked this one. We've read several by Tomie dePaola in the past and love his books. This was no exception. An educational story about giving up something important to you for those that you love, it shows that even children have the power to be brave. My 5 yr old loved this story and so did I. Not only the moral lesson here, but there's lots of learning about the American Indian culture. We learned about tipi's (how they spell it in the book), ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-2015
This is the native American origin story of the famous Texas bluebonnets.

Being as its bluebonnet season right now here in south Texas, I thought this would be a fun read for my son. Unfortunately, it was a little over his head. This was the first he was hearing of native culture and he didn't understand the notions of famine or sacrifice. I don't think there's anything wrong with the story, though, and this served as a good introduction for those topics.
Yanilsa Griffin~BFD Bookblog
Great for lesson on myth and cultural phenomenon. TEKS 5.3
Summarize the book:

This is a tale retold by Tomie dePaola that comes out of Texas. There is a drought, the People are starving, and they are looking to the Great Spirit to give them an answer on what to do. One child in the village, named She-Who-Is-Alone, waits with her special doll to find out what the Shaman have learned about how to end the drought and famine. When the Shaman come down from the mountains and tell the People that they must make a burnt sacrifice of the most prized possession,
Philip Carlson
The legend of the bluebonnet is the courageous story of a young Comanche girl named, She-Who-Is-Alone, and her selfless act of saving her people from famine and drought. She-Who-Is-Alone cherishes her warrior doll, which was made for her by many different people in her family using precious materials valued by her People. The Comanche have been experiencing a severe drought and there is not enough food for everyone to eat. The Shaman speaks to the Great Spirits and they instruct him to offer a ...more
Skylar Burris
Sep 24, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
My daughter asked me for "a book about Indians" when we were at the library, and so I picked up this Native American legend of the origin of bluebonnets, a legend about the temptation to cling to material things. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the formal, rhymed, metrical telling of the story and by its positive spiritual message, which I admittedly had to somewhat re-explain to my daughter in terms of our own Christian tradition: "where your treasure is, there will your heart be al ...more
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
Tomie DePaolo is the author and illustrator of one of my favorite books The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, so when I saw that I had another book by him sitting on my shelf I had to check it out.

The illustrations of his books are always gorgeous and this is no different. I adore the water color treatment and the pure emotions put into each scene. The story itself tells of the selfless story of the Native American origins of the bluebonnet, and centers around a little Comanche girl as she watche
Aug 21, 2007 Efrat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
There was a time when I had an intense interest in all things Native American and, in response, I think my parents bought this book for me. To date, I've probably read it about 100 times. The writing is simple bordering austere yet ultimately uplifting. The illustrations are lovely to look at and a true representation of De Paola's illustration style. She-Who-Is-Alone is one of my favorite literary heroines of all time. Her selflessness always makes me cry, which can be problematic when reading ...more
Sep 09, 2013 Keelin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-40, multicultural
Genre: Traditional Literature
Awards: None
Grade level: K-2
I would use this book in my classroom while learning about flowers or about the Native American culture. After reading the book to my class I would have them cut out bluebonnet flowers and have them write their most prized possession on the flower. Then hang them up around the classroom. This book is important because it teaches students about sacrifice and the Native American culture.
Jun 14, 2012 Reba rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5360-summer-12
A little girl gives up her most precious possession to help end her tribe's suffering.She is rewarded with blue flowers growing all around her.
Holley Gray
Oct 25, 2016 Holley Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about the Comanche people who call to the spirits to ask for a healing from the drought they are in. She holds on tight to a warrior doll that her mother made her; her mother and the rest of her family had passed away due to the famine and the doll helped her to remember them. The "shaman" comes to tell the Comanche that they are being punished for taking so much from the earth and not giving back. Then, She-Who-Is-Alone makes an amazingly unselfish decision for her people. This c ...more
May 22, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely, lovely book. My son read it for a First Grade class last year, and it might have been a little advanced for him then. But now, it is perfect for him. In fact, it is just perfect.

I always related to the little girl in this story, I grew up with little to no friends for company. I was always alone. Reading books like this really gave me solace. I recently re-read this as I was adapting it into a play. I loved how, in the end, she was recognized and appreciated.
Shannon Futrell
This story retells a folktale about the bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, came to be. This book is great for students to learn more about Native American folktales.
Mar 18, 2017 Cynthia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was planning to read this to my first grade class, but thankfully, I read it myself first... the idea of a little girl burning her beloved doll as a sacrifice to the "Spirits" would have been profoundly disturbing to many of the children in my class. NOT for young children...
Hannah Harris
Title: The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Author: Tomie dePaola
Genre: Legend
Theme(s): Dolls, draughts, tribal traditions
Opening line/sentence:
"'Great spirits,
the land is dying. Your people are dying, too.'"
Brief Book Summary:
Cursed with a lengthy draught, the people of "She Who is Alone"'s tribe are desperate for water to cultivate their land and feed their children. However, the sprits have yet to bless them with any water. One day, the young girl comes to the top of a hill and offers her doll, ado
Olivia Marino
Feb 28, 2017 Olivia Marino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Being from Texas, I love anything bluebonnets!
This story is about the tribe of Comanche who happened to be suffering from a drought. The villagers believed that it was the Great Spirits punishing them for not paying a sacrifice to them. A little girl by the name of She-Who-Is-Alone has a doll whom she carried with her at all times. This doll was hand stitched and had beautiful beading. To save her tribe, she sacrificed her doll to the Great Spirits while everyone was asleep. T
Mar 02, 2017 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always get teary-eyed when she gives up her doll!
Title: The Legend of Bluebonnet

Author: Tomie dePaola

Illustrator: Tomie dePaola

Genre: Legend

Theme(s): Traditions, customs, symbols

Opening line/sentence: “Great spirits, the land is dying, your people are dying, too.”

Brief Book Summary: The bluebonnet was a little Indian girl’s most prized possession and to help end the suffering of her own people she sacrificed this blue bonnet. This story tells how the state flower of Texas came into existence.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
Debra Briati
Lucy Hall
Title: The Legend Of The Bluebonnet
Author: Tomie dePaola
Genre: Legend
Theme(s): sacrifice, altruism.
Opening line/sentence:
(Great Spirits, the land is dying. Your people are dying too.)
Brief Book Summary: (A Native American story about a village dying from drought. A leader decides to tell his people to scrifice something valueable they have. A little girl who lost her family in the drought decides to give up her only possession she had, her doll. )
Professional Recommendation/Review #1: (Children
Oct 13, 2015 YUE LE rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legend
Title: The legend of the bluebonnet
Author: Tomie dePaola
Genre: picture book
Theme(s): Legend, selfishness and selfish less
Opening line/sentence: Great spirits, the land is dying. Your people are dying, too,
Brief Book Summary: The land was drying in an Indian tribe. People are praying and dancing for the rain to come. There was a girl in the tribe, her name is She-Who-Is-Alone. She sacrifice her most cherished possession and so the rain began to fall.
Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
Sep 07, 2013 Walida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk-tales
This book is an excellent display of good character. It shows children that no matter how small they are, their sacrifice matters as in the story where the little girl sacrifices the only possession she owned so there will be rain and people can be saved from famine.
Tomie de Paola discusses important issues such as family, community and nature. All children can surely enjoy this, but I would recommend this book at the Kindergarten level due to His usage of extraordinary vocabulary such as, drou
Jill Wolosonovich
A. The Legend of the Bluebonnet
• The overriding theme is the value of self-sacrifice for the greater good of the whole.
• The theme evolves naturally from the plot— the tribe is experiencing starvation due to a drought -- the shaman shares the solution to their problem – She-Who-Is-Alone realizes her sacrifice would be the greatest and mean the most – the theme builds to a crescendo when she throws her warrior doll, most valued possession, into the fire – in the morning the Great Spirits have sh
Victoria Leininger-halpern
This book is focused on the legend of a flower called the Bluebonnet, and how it came to grow in Texas, and how a little girl known as She-Who-Is-Alone helped her tribe have these beautiful flowers through her selfless sacrifice.

As far as stories go, this book has a strong plot about sacrificing for the greater good and helping others, which is an important theme children should learn. Being selfless and doing things for others, without having personal gain, should be taught to children to ensu
Lorena Magallanes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2010 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Legend of the Bluebonnet is a stirring, uniquely powerful look at an old Native American legend about a young girl who is willing to give up her most cherished possession to save her people from the drought and famine that threaten to wipe them entirely off the map.

The Comanche tribe's shaman returns from a consultation with the Great Spirits to convey an urgent message to all members of the tribe: The land's lack of productivity is a direct result of the people's continually growing self
Michelle Cepeda
This is an excellent book to read to young children - as well as for young children to read themselves. It teaches children to think about others before themselves. It also teaches about the culture of the Comanche. I enjoyed reading this book, and I'm sure children would love it too. In my personal opinion, if more people were like the young girl from the story, this world would be a much better place. I definitely recommend this book to anyone, both children and adults!

Learning Extension: This
Feb 01, 2009 Josie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The Legend of the Bluebonnet written and illustrated by Tomie DePaola
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Legend: Picture Book
Ages 6 to 10

This picture book retells the legend of how bluebonnet flowers came to Texas. The story centers around She-Who-Is-Alone, her Comanche tribe and their Shaman. It is set in a time before settlers came to Native American land in Texas. There has been a great drought and the tribe is asking the Great Spirits for rain. When the Shaman returns from the top of the hill
Shelby O'Rourke
Nov 08, 2015 Shelby O'Rourke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional
A little girl, known only as she who is alone, lives with her tribe who is suffering due to a drought that has already claimed many lives, including her entire family. One day the spirits tell the people that they are selfish and will not be given relief until they show that they have changed their ways and are no longer selfish people. That night the girl sneaks out at night and sacrifices her only possession, a beautiful handmade doll. The ext morning the fields are filled with beautiful blue ...more
Alexandra Escamilla
Sep 30, 2014 Alexandra Escamilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-1
The Comanche tribe is threated by disease and famine. In order to save their people, the people must give a burnt offering of their most valuable possession. The Comanche people begin giving their offerings. A young girl, She-Who-Is-Alone, decided to give her most prized possession and only thing left from her family, a warrior doll. She went up on the hill and gave her doll to the Great Spirits. When she awoke, the land was covered with beautiful bluebonnets. The people sang and gave thanks to ...more
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
More about Tomie dePaola...

Other Books in the Series

Legends (5 books)
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush
  • The Legend of Old Befana
  • The Legend of the Poinsettia
  • The Legend of the Persian Carpet

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