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Kali's Song

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  70 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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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  296 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jim Erekson
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
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
Miss Ryoko
Jun 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Rebecca Gomez
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
It wasn’t horrid, but I’m not a fan of stories that come across as suggesting that “artists” are somehow more enlightened or wise than others.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
My two-year-old grabbed this off the shelf at the library at random and asked me to read it. She didn't stay interested through the whole thing (she's not the target audience; too young), but she did point to quite a few different things in the illustrations and she wanted me to name things and talk about them. I was more interested in the story itself, because I think with its fairly simple plot but multiple characters, it would be great to use for dramatization. Keeping this one in mind for wo ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this one. It states that this was thousands and thousands of years ago, meaning it doesn't preach evolutionary theory, allowing the Earth to be pretty much any age you want. I like that. I also appreciate the way the main character becomes who he wishes to become, making music instead of hunting.
Eileen Carter
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely story that tells about Kali and his journey through life from a small boy to a grown man. It takes place in the age of the Mammoths and cavemen. Children and adults both will enjoy this book.
Richie Partington
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Kyla C.
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Chad Elliott
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, children-s, 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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Maria Burel
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kaitlyn Craig
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I love how this book turns something that can be sad for some students, into something better. I love how the outcome was completely different than what I thought it was going to be. Most students either want to kill animals or do not want to. This book is for both of those types because you can see how the other men were going to kill the animals, but Kali changed his hunting skills into a positive thing, using the bow as an instrument for music.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Sandy Brehl
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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?
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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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