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How Chipmunk Got His Stripes (Picture Puffins) Paperback – April 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Bruchac and his son's (When the Chenoo Howls) serviceable retelling of a Native American pourquoi tale, Brown Squirrel challenges prideful Bear to keep the sun from rising. When the sun does rise, and Brown Squirrel teases Bear, Bear threatens to eat Brown Squirrel, and his claw marks transform the fellow into Chipmunk. Though the prose occasionally falters (e.g., "Everyone was happy except for one animal. That animal was Bear" or the advice of Brown Squirrel's grandmother, "It is good to be right about something. But when someone else is wrong, it is not a good idea to tease him"), the dialogue is effective and invites audience participation--especially the repeated phrases with sound effects, as when the quarrelsome pair sit side by side all night chanting: "The sun will not come up, hummph!" and "The sun is going to rise, oooh!" Aruego and Dewey (Antarctica Antics) create lush landscapes, but Bear and Brown Squirrel are uncharacteristically bland, often featuring the same facial expressions repeatedly. Ages 5-8.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-Bear struts through the forest, bragging as he goes: "I am Bear. I am the biggest of all the animals. Yes, I am!-I can do anything. Yes, I can!" Little Brown Squirrel elects to challenge him: "Can you tell the sun not to rise tomorrow morning?" Bear accepts the challenge. As the sun sets, he issues his command and the two settle down to see what morning will bring. As the night progresses, the braggart continues to boast, and Squirrel cannot resist teasing. When the sun predictably rises in the morning, Bear is disgruntled and angry, and his taunter foolishly continues to tease. When Bear threatens to eat the little creature, Squirrel makes a desperate dash for his burrow. He is able to escape, but not before Bear has raked his back with his sharp claws. Although the scratches heal, they leave Squirrel with long, pale stripes on his back. He is now Chipmunk, the Striped One. In their introductory authors' notes, the Bruchacs indicate that the story is an amalgam of tales they have heard from Cherokee, Abenaki, and Mohawk sources, and has further been fleshed out through their own telling over the years. The result is polished, cohesive, and energetic. While the story begs to be told, Aruego and Dewey's vibrantly hued trademark watercolors add significantly to the humor. A priority purchase for most collections.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142500216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142500217
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There is an entire sub-genre of myth and folklore consisting of stories that explain the distinctive qualities of animals. "How Chipmunk Got His Stripes" is a Native American story told along the East Coast, and in the Author's Notes for this volume we learn that while there are Cherokee, Abenaki and Mohawk versions, the earliest written one to be found is of Iroquois origin. What the father and son team of Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac provide here is a longer and more detailed than what might be found elsewhere, the story having grown in the telling over the years.

The story begins with Bear out walking and bragging that he is the biggest, strongest, and loudest of the animals. Hearing his boasts, a little Brown Squirrel asks Bear is he can really do anything. Bear insists that he can, and so the little Brown Squirrel asks Bear to tell the sun not to rise tomorrow morning. Bear has never tried this before but is sure he can do it and tells the sun in the western sky not to come up tomorrow. The sun disappears behind the hills and Bear is sure that the sun if running away from him because it is afraid.

That night the Bear turned towards the east and instead of sleeping spent the night saying "The sun will not come up, hummph" over and over again. But as the night went on the little brown squirrel began to say "The sun is going to rise, oooh." This goes on and on all night long, and while the Bear and little Brown Squirrel keeping saying the same thing over and over again, the other animals gather around them to see who would be right. Now, whether you are a young reader or an older one, you might be able to figure out what is going to happen next and how that might end up with the chipmunk getting his stripes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dionne L. Abrahamson on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have not tested this book with the children. They are the real critics but they have loved Joseph and James Bruchacs' books so far. To me 'How Chipmunk Got His Stripes' is right up their with 'Turtle's Race With Beaver'. I am soon to share this book with the children and I am positive they'll love it. We have our own version of this story but this one is quite exceptional.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glory Highley on April 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read this book to my daughters classmates from ages 3-7 and the children love this book! It's a huge hit! I cannot wait to read it again this year to some young students! I can't talk enough about this so I'll stop before I get too long!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PJ Fred on November 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read this story many times to second graders after they have heard Joseph Bruchac's story Turtle's Race with Beaver. I try to use different voices for Bear and Little Brown Squirrel and the children love it. They always ask to hear it again right away. Then we compare and contrast it with the story about Turtle and Beaver. They both have the same illustrator as well. It fits in nicely with a study of Native American legends. I have many of Joseph Bruchac's legends and they are all wonderful books.Turtle's Race With Beaver
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reminds me a little bit of Uncle Remus stories, with, of course, a native flavor. I have worked as a storyteller in schools. Kids of all backgrounds love native stories! All of Joseph Bruchac's books are high quality, museum pieces, just really good, the apotheosis [ideal] of what a storybook could be like. Journey to the Ancestral Self: The Native Lifeway Guide to Living in Harmony with the Earth Mother (Bk.1) gives a very good description of the native lifeways around stories, and Whispers of the Ancients: Native Tales for Teaching and Healing in Our Time gives another view of native storytelling. The Original Instructions: Reflections of an Elder on the Teachings of the Elders, Adapting Ancient Wisdom to the Twenty-First Century is another book that gives you native context, by an author who also has native storybooks in print, including The Children of the Morning Light: Wampanoag Tales as Told By Manitonquat. Entering into native lifeways is not necessarily judgeable by white man culture, as House of Shattering Light: Life as an American Indian Mystic shows.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nora on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book to help children see the affects of bragging and teasing. The pictures are engaging for young children up to ages 10 years old. My teenage grandson looked over my shoulder as I read it to his younger siblings. He found the story line amusing and thought provoking as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JulieRez VINE VOICE on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
In this story, Bear goes around bragging that he is the biggest and strongest and can do anything. So a little squirrel challenges him by asking if he could make the sun not rise the next morning. So Bear of course insists that he can do anything and wills the sun to not come up. By the next morning when the sun does rise, all the animals of the forest have joined in and everyone is happy... except bear, who is angered by Squirrel's taunts and chases him all the way home. Squirrel gets away, but not before Bear gets in one good swipe of his nails right down Squirrel's back. Squirrel stays in his hole all winter and when he wakes up in the spring, his fur has grown back in white stripes. He has become Chipmunk.

This story was recommended to us by our fabulous librarian. She had just gotten the book in, and knew my son loved animal stories. We read it right there in the library, then brought it home and read it every night for a week. The story was such a hit that we had to go out and buy our own copy. We've brought it in to school, and it was a big hit with all the kids.

The illustrations are really well done, with bright earthy colors and cute animal drawings.

Definitely recommend.
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