Gerald Hausman recounts these Coyote stories as they were told to him by his Navajo friend, Bluejay DeGroat, whose father was a Navajo medicine man. IGerald Hausman recounts these Coyote stories as they were told to him by his Navajo friend, Bluejay DeGroat, whose father was a Navajo medicine man. In an Author's Note on the title page, Hausman explains how sacred these Native American myths are and points out some of the origins and cultural references found in the tales. In the first story, Coyote causes a great flood by stealing two water-monster babies. The Animal People are forced to escape to a new world where First Man knows what is best for the animal people and gives the Coyote a new name. Then Coyote learns a new trick from Magpie, but doesn't quite get it right, which is how he ends up with yellow, pine-sap eyes. He asks a Deer mother how her fawns got such lovely white spots and loses some fur which he now sheds each year just before winter. Coyote also meets the guardian of the corn one hungry day, and in his greed, discovers just how seriously Horned Toad takes that job.
Hausmans' renditions of these Coyote tales maintain the feel of their oral versions. The text is presented in a free-verse poetry style which helps capture the cadence of the storyteller. There is rhythm and repetition of phrase and the reader is addressed directly. The tales have an obvious lesson, whether Coyote learns it or not, and the plots are quick to unfold and resolve. Coyote and the other characters become known through their actions rather than physical traits and each story is brief and action packed. The illustrations by Floyd Cooper, who is part Creek Indian, are as rich as the language. They are done in saturated earth tones and cover the entire page. The reader is welcomed into the tale and shares various vantage points with Coyote and his friends. The details of the characters are muted with soft edges giving them a dream-like quality that evokes tales told around a campfire that return during sleep....more
This collection of Coyote stories starts with Coyote causing a flood and creating a new world full of beings he makes from mud. In each of the tales tThis collection of Coyote stories starts with Coyote causing a flood and creating a new world full of beings he makes from mud. In each of the tales that follow the creation story, Coyote gets himself into a ridiculous situation from which he is saved through accident or the help of others. When he gets his head stuck in an elk skull, he blunders around until he falls and it breaks. In another story, he tries to collect food by imitating a woodpecker. He also angers the spirit of a great buffalo bull by not respecting the bull's skull. Coyote walks away from each situation without learning any lessons. Based on Native American mythology, these beast tales are classic stories of Coyote, the trickster who lives in all of us. Fine Print source notes can be found on the title page and Pohrt gives an introduction that could serve as a "Background as source note".
Pohrt's versions of these stories are presented with a traditional picture-book placement of the text and seem thin. The language is not rich or particularly repetitive. There is also little sense of cadence. Pohrt's illustrations also lack richness of color and scope. The earth tone illustrations are fairly clever, but many of them give the reader little sense of place and there is a great deal of white space. This could invite readers to fill in with their own surroundings to draw them into the story. For readers unfamiliar with the character of Coyote, or without reference to the Native American cultures, it may cast them adrift....more
Unbelievable combination of text and illustrations. I was captivated by the tale of an orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station. Even moreUnbelievable combination of text and illustrations. I was captivated by the tale of an orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station. Even more compelling are the incredible drawings so indicative of old moving pictures....more
This story of mouse warriors is beautifully drawn. Text is minimal but keeps the story moving while the action of the brave mice and their foes playsThis story of mouse warriors is beautifully drawn. Text is minimal but keeps the story moving while the action of the brave mice and their foes plays out in the panels. Dominated by earth tones, the illustrations conjure a natural world of autumn undergrowth and hidden civilization. The mice are dressed in splashes of color which help identify them. They courageously face natural dangers such as a large serpent, and huge crabs, but it is the traitorous foes of their own kind which present the real menace. Fans of Brian Jaques' "Redwall" series will feel right at home in the medieval world of talking/fighting warrior mice and will enjoy the twists and turns of political intrigue and espionage. The second title, "Winter 1152", is due out later in Spring 2009. I enjoyed this story, especially the detailed scenery and architecture. The epilogue and extras were just as fun to read as the story itself and I look forward to the next title in the series. Ages 8-14...more
Tolkien's story of Bilbo Baggins' adventure is not nearly as dark or foreboding as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so it appeals to, and is appropriateTolkien's story of Bilbo Baggins' adventure is not nearly as dark or foreboding as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so it appeals to, and is appropriate for younger readers. All the same, the dangers of the journey through the Mirkwood and into Smaug's dragon lair are enough to captivate any reader. This illustrated adaptation of The Hobbit presents Bilbo's story in wonderful detail, vivid watercolors and seemingly endless action. Text includes both running narration and a great number of text balloons which can get a bit heavy at times. The drawings give readers a real sense of the characters' personalities and the action in the panels still tells much of the story. As Bilbo moves through his journey, colors play a key role in setting mood and each stop along the way is distinct in setting and feel. The land he travels through is almost a character in the story and adds to the sense of comfort or tension, putting reader's into the story as a fellow adventurer. I have loved the myths of Middle Earth for as long a I can remember. Re-reading this part of the adventure with such wonderful illustrations has only strengthened that feeling. I can't wait to hand this over to my 10 year old son. Ages 10-99....more
This Barnes & Noble compilation of three Little Bear books is a great example of an easy reader. Little Bear is written by Else Holmelund MinarikThis Barnes & Noble compilation of three Little Bear books is a great example of an easy reader. Little Bear is written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The first book, Little Bear, introduces children to the main character, his mother, and his friends. The stories are silly and fun, and beginning readers will find the large text, brief sentences, repeating words and phrases, and deft illustrations easy to navigate. The other two books, Father Bear Comes Home and A Kiss for Little Bear, continue to lead children through the delightful, imaginative world Little Bear and his friends inhabit. Readers anticipate meeting a mermaid, find a cure for the hiccups, and follow a special kiss from Little Bear's grandmother that gets a bit mixed up. Some pages contain only text which, along with the series of stories, gives Little Bear the feel of a chapter book. The final story, A Kiss for Little Bear, would be a wonderful choice for the Theodore Geisel Award. The plot is intriguing and Sendak's illustrations give emerging readers clues to the action. There is a rhythm to the story and the drawings, although muted in color, are detailed and distinctive. Unfortunately it is part of a compilation and was written too long ago to be considered. Little Bear is one of my all-time favorite characters and series of tales. ...more
Clifford the Big Red Dog is a great favorite. His eagerness to please his owner, Emily Elizabeth, and his antics with his friends are themes which youClifford the Big Red Dog is a great favorite. His eagerness to please his owner, Emily Elizabeth, and his antics with his friends are themes which young children can relate to. In this story, Clifford is doing tricks in order to get treats from Emily Elizabeth. When she leaves suddenly, his friends decide they can all get treats for doing tricks. Many tricks and too many treats lead to the inevitable tummy aches. With large type, short sentences,and repeating words and phrases, this story is definitely an "easy reader". Beginning readers will be able to navigate the vocabulary and use the bright pictures of the familiar characters to help figure out any words they have difficulty with. The illustrations are drawn in bright, primary colors and echo the action in the story. Although this is a fun story and a good "easy reader", I do not feel it would be considered for a Theodore Geisel Award. The Clifford books are playful, but not particularly creative or "individually distinct". The story is predictable and the illustrations are fairly basic. Children will enjoy the story but may not be challenged by it....more