From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4?The spirit of the natural world flows through this well-crafted picture book based on a Native American tale. The people are suffering from starvation, so an orphaned, scar-faced boy sets out on a quest to find the Great Chief, whom he hopes will send the buffalo the people need. Instead, the Great Chief invites the boy to witness the creation of a new life?one special animal gifted with all the finest qualities that other creatures can bestow. As each animal steps forward to contribute such attributes as speed, gentleness, and strength, readers watch the magnificent creature evolve into a horse. The boy is so moved by the generosity of the animals that he gives his own gift as well to the mare. From this wonderful prototype comes a whole herd of horses to help the people hunt the buffalo. Rodanas credits a Blackfeet story as her inspiration, but states, "I have told the tale in my own way." This artistic ownership may be what is missing from so many recent retellings of Native American stories. Perhaps because Rodanas is not trying to revive archival material, but instead is inspired by her own love of the natural world, her text and artwork fairly dance with life. The animals, trees, and Montana grasslands vibrate with color and texture, an effect achieved by layering colored pencil over watercolor wash. This book is a quiet beauty.?Carolyn Polese, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-8. A young Blackfoot orphan who seldom speaks and is disfigured by a scar on his cheek seeks help from the Great Chief as his people face starvation because the buffalo herds have dwindled and become hard to find. The Great Chief enlists the help of the other animals to create a creature to help the Blackfeet find the buffalo, and the boy watches in amazement as a horse is formed from the animals' gifts. As in Dragonfly's Tale (1992), Rodanas' striking, colorful illustrations fill the pages and complement this satisfying tale. An author's note gives the print source of the story. Karen Hutt