I was a little disappointed in this story of a young boy who travels from his village near Lake Erie to the ancient city of Cahokia around 1300 AD (th...moreI was a little disappointed in this story of a young boy who travels from his village near Lake Erie to the ancient city of Cahokia around 1300 AD (though if he went at the center's zenith, it should have been around 1100 AD).
The people in the illustrations seem a little awkward, with some weird smiles, and the settings are too clean. They look like museum dioramas - the corn growing in straight rows without weeds, the villages with their walls with straight edges, etc.
The story is simple and Lorenz did a nice job of incorporating some Native mythology (the origin of Red Horn) into it - but it is a little bland and bloodless. There is no mention of sacrifice or even tribute or feasts at Cahokia, and the artifacts (which are very nicely portrayed and explained) are not really put into a convincing cultural context - they are simply trade items. A lot of this prehistoric trade seems to have centered around items with religious significance - and the question of why Little Hawk's family travels all the way to Cahokia to trade isn't answered.
Still, considering the dearth of information on prehistoric Native peoples out there, I was glad to see this book - especially predominantly displayed at my local library. I hope this encourages lots of people driving by East St. Louis on their summer vacations to stop and see this relatively unknown World Heritage site. (less)
This is a wonderful book, full of intriguing word images. I didn't always care for the artwork, but I loved the poems, and I think they would be inspi...moreThis is a wonderful book, full of intriguing word images. I didn't always care for the artwork, but I loved the poems, and I think they would be inspiring for kids of any age. And adults. :-)(less)
This is a well-meaning but problematic kid's book about the controversy over what should be done with a 9500 y.o. skeleton found in the state of Washi...moreThis is a well-meaning but problematic kid's book about the controversy over what should be done with a 9500 y.o. skeleton found in the state of Washington: anthropological research, or give it back to the Native peoples in the area for reburial?
The information presented is accurate and detailed, and the illustrations are gorgeous and helpful. But the text reads a bit too much like an academic report - elementary school kids are going to have a tough time getting through some of the long pages of rather pedantic text. There is a very detailed glossary in the back, but few kids are going to flip back there to figure out unfamiliar words in the face of text that doesn't grab them.
Older kids (middle school & up) could handle the text, if they're interested in the topic (and it *is* an important and interesting topic!) but are they going to ever find this book in the juvenile section? I'm afraid they will think it's a picture book that's too young for them.
This would be a good book for teachers and homeschoolers to use with their students - parts of it could be read and explained, and the graphics and information could be appreciated. But I'm afraid this will just languish on library shelves.(less)