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4.6 out of 5 stars
How Chipmunk Got His Stripes (Picture Puffins)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
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. Think about how you ancient storytellers could begin with the distinctive stripes of the chipmunk, come up with a perfectly logical reason for the look, and then have to invent a story that provides the motivation.

This charming story has colorful pictures by Jose Arugeo and Arianne Dewey ("Mushroom in the Rain," "We Hide You Seek") done with pen-and-ink and watercolor that was then scanner-separated and reproduced as red, blue, yellow and black halftones. I especially like their use of orange in the artwork, especially when it serves as a background to their pictures of Bear. As for the Bruchacs, they have also collaborated on "Native American Games" and a collection of Native American monster stories, "When the Chenoo Howls."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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
on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I cannot believe that this book has so many good reviews. The content was way too graphic for my almost three year old. At one point, the bear pins the squirrel on the ground to where he cant breathe and then he scratches (described in great detail) him down the back. None of the animals in the story look remotely nice. Glad this was only a library book and I didnt waste my money on it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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
on November 7, 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
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. One thing one notices in native cultures is that they ask new questions, something like one sees in Quantum Power Questions. I find native metaphysics to be similar to Quantum Mechanics. While not a native book, The Secret of Instant Healing gives some ideas on how life would work, from that perspective. The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin has stories about tricksters, which are not dissimilar to native stories. teachingdrum.org used to have a list of books of native stories, which is the most comprehensive I've seen. That is a nonprofit, and I have no connection with them, this cites the info resource only. All storytelling is fascinating. Renard the Fox is one example of European stories about animals, which are not totally dissimilar. Stories are fascinating. If you want to entrance, train, entertain, educate, and improve children, nothing is faster or easier than storytelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Joseph Bruchac retells a tradional Mohawk folktale, with a snappy rhythmic cadence and building to a satisfying climax. In the story, Bear is caught out for boasting when he claims he can keep the sun from coming up and is proven wrong. But a brash young squirrel finds himself in trouble when (against his wise grandmother's advice) he begins to tease the humiliated bear.

This entertaining story, full of action and humor, underscores the importance of both humility and being sensitive to others' feelings. Aruego's and Dewey's illustrations augment the story with cheerful representations that are pleasant, but not amazing. It may be best appreciated by a preschool and younger elementary-school audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
This engaging legend is illustrated with happy, colorful pages. The animals are expressive and the bear is not too scary! Little children love this story - don't taunt your rival! It's fun to read this out loud, especially the rhythmic language as the bear and the squirrel wait for the sun to rise - or not. Family favorite.
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