From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–In this original creation myth, the Tiny People emerge from the center of the Earth, led by the bravest and tiniest of them all, who surges on ahead of his wary compatriots. Over time, the forest denizens teach them a number of lessons, such as bravery, patience, and how to hunt. As they learn, the Tiny People grow a little taller, until finally they have absorbed so much that they become human, dancing around a bonfire as the animals watch. Watercolor-and-acrylic illustrations, some quite beautiful, help carry the story and compensate for some of the weaknesses in the text. The Tiny People, with their potbellies and sticklike arms and legs, are juxtaposed against lush, realistic creatures and the forest, and smaller paintings break up blocks of type. Unfortunately, the artwork and story often diverge. The Center of the Earth is described as hot and crowded, but the illustration shows a large, cool cavern with only a handful of Tiny People. Scant motive supports their actions, and the story's concluding observation, Sometimes animals even learn from people, seems to come from another story altogether. Perhaps Turtle knew that it was true, but children have to accept that on face value as the text does not demonstrate how. The tale is based on a Native American emergence myth, but readers are left wondering if the actual myth would be more satisfying.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
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PreS-Gr. 2. With a light touch unusual in most creation stories, this large-size picture book will appeal to preschoolers, especially because the Tiniest Person, "smaller than the others," is the strong leader. The words are colloquial and immediate. "Let's get out of here," the leader urges the people, and inspired by Eagle, Bear, Coyote, and other creatures, the Tiny People leave their dark hole in the earth and grow tall and brave. The bright watercolor-and-acrylic paintings show the huge animals towering over the tiny, naked humans (a unisex nakedness), who grow bigger and stronger and eventually learn to make a new home. Wood says her story is based on American Indian creation myths (though she does not specify which nation), and the final double-page spread shows tall, dark-haired, Native American people celebrating around their fire in the woods. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved