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The Earth under Sky Bear's Feet Hardcover – October 17, 1995

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (October 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039922713X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399227134
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-6?A companion to Bruchac's Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back (Philomel, 1992). In that title, a grandfather shared the moon's legends with his grandson. In this book, a grandmother relates the legend of Sky Bear to her granddaughter. Sky Bear (also known as the Big Dipper) circles the Earth each night, and these 12 poems tell of what she sees and hears. Each one is from a different tribe: Mohawk, Anishinabe, Pima, Missisquoi, Winnebago, Cochiti Pueblo, Lenape, Chumash, Inuit, Lakota, Navajo, and Pawnee. Bruchac has once again compiled a thoughtful collection that eloquently bears out the theme of unity among all creatures. The selections display a wide range of emotions. Some are pensive meditations; others resound with hopeful energy. "Mouse's Bragging Song," a whimsical delight, is the arrogant boast of a little creature who thinks he alone can touch the sky. Locker's luminous oil paintings add detail and depth. They glow with brilliant sky colors: sunset reds, twilight purples. The Earth Under Sky Bear's Feet lives up to the high standards of Bruchac's earlier works, and is a worthy addition.?Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. To quiet her granddaughter's fear of the approaching darkness, Grandmother shares what Sky Bear (also known as the Big Dipper) sees and hears through the night. This companion volume to Bruchac's Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons (1992) presents 12 nature stories, each from a different North American Indian tribe, about summer fireflies, blooming cacti, the northern lights, and an old wolf's predawn song. Locker's richly colored paintings capture the mood of each story, from the midnight sun of the Inuit to the seven stars sparkling against a blue-black sky. Similar in format to the earlier book, this offers easily accessible folklore that will appeal to young listeners and readers. Source notes appended. Karen Hutt

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Berek on November 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The lights of the night, especially the stars and the moon, have captivated Native American peoples across North America and elsewhere for centuries. Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki storyteller, has collected in this companion volume to Thirteen Moon's on Turtle's Back a series of stories what these celestial bodies mean to diverse Native American cultures; he then retells them in lyric poetry. Included are "Sky Bear" of the Mohawk, "Song to the Firefly" of the Anishinabe, "Flute Song" of the Pima (which evokes the myths of Kokopeli), "The Northern Lights" of the Missisquoi, "Mother's Bragging Song" of the Winnebago, "The Scattered Stars" of the Cochiti Pueblo, "The Seven Mateinnu" of the Lenape, "The Tale of Pinon Gatherers" of the Chumash, "A Summer Song" of the Inuit, "The Old Wolf's Song" of the Lakota, "Dawn House Song" of the Navajo, and "Spirit Dance Song" of the Pawnee. Mr. Bruchac, in an Author's Note at the end of the volume, explains what these stories mean to all Native American peoples, children and adults alike. He reveals that the constellation we know as the Big Dipper (the Drinking Gourd in African-American folklore) is also seen as a great bear, the Sky Bear of his poetry, something many of us all too often take for granted.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arcturus70 on June 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book---both in word and in illustration. I love the visionary idea of Sky Bear's "sensory" journey through the star, her well-known path in the night sky. The timeless, inviting nature of the myth, the land, the stars, the images, and the poems connect readers to something larger than themselves, to something warm and something that breathes with its own life and pulse.

My favorite poem / illustration pair from the book is "The Scattered Stars" (from the Cochiti Pueblo, Southwest) because it reminds me of the book "How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend" told by Jerrie Oughton, illustrated by Lisa Desimini. Each tells a similar tale whereby curiosity and impatience bring disorganization and confusion to the night sky---save for a few special patterns (constellations) that survive. How clever the Southwest peoples were to develop such an idea to explain the infinite, speckled heavens that opened up above them.

I also like "The Seven Mateinnu" poem / illustration pair (Lenape Eastern Woodlands) because it reminds me of the Pleiades stars--one of my favorite star-gazing objects, and I like the story of seven wise men as depicted in the poem rather than seven maidens, which is popular in other world myths.

Another notable piece in this book is "The Trail of the Pinon Gatherers," which describes "Sky Coyote, Star Who Never Moves" ---which sounds very much like a description of the North Star, Polaris, which, of course, is a circumpolar star that never appears to move.

The book is well-designed, and the poems' text is easy to read (great for eye-glass wearers!) The author's notes at the end of the book are helpful for further reading. All and all, this is a fantastic book to share with any class that studies descriptive astronomy, mythology, legends, folklore, and history. The book teaches respect and appreciation for the night sky as well as respect and appreciation for Native American cultures.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gail Hoxie on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My grandaughter is interested in the constellations -- this book combines information on the constellations with Indian poetry -- it is a lovely tribute to the sky.
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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

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