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Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale Paperback – February 24, 1977


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Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale + Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest + Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (February 24, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140502114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140502114
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gerald McDermott is the internationally known author and illustrator of such works as Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk and most recently, Creation. Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest are both Caldecott Honor books. Mr. McDermott is First Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Children will love the story and the colors of the book have a great appeal.
R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu)
Arrow to the Sun is a 1974 children's book by Gerald McDermott, adapted from Pueblo Indian myth.
MOTU Review
The story is also a metaphor for the planting cycle, as well as the cycle of life and death.
Donald Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The story here is a Native American Pueblo tale. It begins when "Long ago the Lord of the Sun sent the spark of life to earth." "It traveled down the rays of the sun, through the heavens, and it came to the Pueblo." "There it entered the home of a young maiden." "In this way, the Boy came into the world of men."
Growing up alone with his mother, the boy is derided by the other boys. "Where is your father?" Finally, the boy could take it no more. He left to find his father. The Corn Planter and the Pot Maker could not help him. But the wise Arrow Maker could. The Arrow Maker made the boy into an arrow and shot him into the sun.
The boy claimed to be the son of the Lord of the Sun, but the Lord of the Sun demanded proof. Tests were involved, but the boy was not afraid. He successfully went through the four kivas of lions, serpents, bees and lightning. After the kiva of lightning, he was transformed and was filled with the "power of the sun." The father and his son rejoiced.
The Lord of the Sun said, "Now you must return to earth, my son, and bring my spirit to the world of men." He was sent back as an arrow. "The people celebrated his return in the Dance of Life."
As you can see, this story is a very conceptual one that deals with spiritual matters involving cultural traditions that are probably unfamiliar to your child. The book will be easier to understand if you explain a little about the religious beliefs of the Pueblo Native Americans before reading this book to your child. You will also need to explain the point about how not having a father present can create a stir.
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88 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Reese on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
With dismay, I read the customer reviews of this book. There are 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, and more in Arizona. Which Pueblo is this book about? There is great variation from one to the other. Most troubling, however, is McDermott's presentation of the kiva. Our kivas are not places of trial. They are more akin to churches and temples where cultural knowledge is passed on from one generation to the next. Finally, extended families are central to Pueblo culture, and there is no stain of illegitimacy conferred on those who don't know who their father is. This book should NOT be used to teach about Pueblo Indians. These errors are major ones.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Hill on June 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My mother read this book to me when I was a child, and I remember loving it, but hadn't seen it in probably 15 years until I bought it for my nephew. It is as good as I remember.
I can attest to the fact that the high contrast, brightly colored drawings are mesmerizing for a small child. The best part of the book is when the boy must complete four tasks for the sun god to prove himself. The tasks are not narrated, you get to see how the tasks are completed from how the drawings change. It's so cool! I felt very smart as a little kid being able to discover what he did and figure it our for myself.
On a cultural note, the narrative is similar to the Christ story. Mother gives birth to the boy (a virgin birth) after the sun god sends a ray of energy to her. The boy grows up and wants to know who his father is, and goes on a quest to find him and prove that he is indeed the son of the sun god. (That's why he becomes an arrow to the sun!)
I think it's good for a child to be exposed to this story to begin to understand the universal elements of religion and that all cultures have a lot in common. Even those that seem strange are not so different from our own.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) on May 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This children's book is based on an old Pueblo Indian tale about a boy who is son of the Sun and who wishes to meet his father. He is shaped into an arrow and shot towards the Sun. He meets several tests and his father has him return to Earth to teach man of the Sun's spirit. The book won the 1975 Caldecott Medal for best illustrations in a book for children. Children will love the story and the colors of the book have a great appeal.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Renee Jones (rm123@bellsouth.net) on October 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Arrow to the sun is a fascinating story of a boy's trials to find the answer to a question. A skill you can emphasize with your reader is to retell the series of trials. Questioning during the telling of a story also reinforces comprehenhsion: What was the boy in search of? Why did the boy become an arrow? What other story can you think of where a character must go through trials to prove him or herself? Who are the Pueblo people? This last question will lead to a study of other Native American cultures and folktales. Teachers: run with this! Use this story as a springboard to the study of the Anasazi,LaKota,Aztec,or Mayan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
To those who pay attention to the myths of various cultures, the fundamental premise of this book comes as no surprise. The Sun, in this case a god to the Pueblo Indians, sends a spark of life down to Earth and impregnates a woman. The child is a boy who is ridiculed by the other boys because he has no father. He then goes on a search for his father and gets no results until he consults the arrow maker.

The arrow maker understands the situation and turns the boy into an arrow. He then shoots him into the sky so that the boy can converse with the Sun. After he claims to be to be the son of the Sun, the boy is given a series of trials, which he passes. He is then returned to the Earth and acknowledged by all as the son of the Sun. There is great rejoicing among the people as they now appreciate who the boy really is.

This is a delightful tale that is illustrated in the style of the Pueblo Indians. The drawings are made using almost exclusively lines drawn at right angles. Most shapes are made from a combination of rectangular figures, yet so well done that it is still possible to detect the emotions of the characters. It is an excellent story for young children, it will teach them something about another culture and that is always a good thing.
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