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on July 14, 2006
Totem Tale: A Tall Story From Alaska by Deb Vanasse combines a lively and original story with skillfully drawn illustrations by Erik Brooks to create the fun tale of a Native American totem pole which comes to life in the beauty of a moon-lit night. Children will follow the adventures of a beaver, an eagle, a bear, a wolf, a raven and a frog through a remarkable journey on one very special night. An engaging picturebook account of cooperation, faithfulness, and helping out a friend in need, Totem Tale is very highly recommended for all young readers, as well as parents and librarians searching for something entertaining and worthwhile for children ages 5 through 8 to read and enjoy.
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on April 20, 2014
I am an art teacher, and this year I taught an Native American unit to my first graders. After making dream catchers, we moved onto Totem Poles. There aren't many Native American children's book that cover art topics like this, and this book was not available at my local library. So I ordered this book on Amazon, and it was a good choice!

The pictures are really quite beautiful. I took a picture of each page to display on my smart board, and the words and the pictures look very nice. The story is a little bit fluffy...but my first graders were okay with it. They liked the fact that the animals come to life...the idea of magic is perfect for that age group. Not sure that my older students would buy into this, and it is too wordy for Kinders. It seems like 1st-2nd would be the perfect age for the book. Because it is pretty wordy, if you wanted your child to read this to you, you would have to read it to them first. There is a lot of alliterations in the story.

So because the story is fluffy, I am giving it 4 stars. I would love there to be actual FACTS about totem poles weaved into the story. The book states that a carver carved the pole and forgot about it...and that together the animals tell a story. Besides those facts there isn't much educational value. It is a fun story, and it got my students in the mood to create their own totem animals.
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on January 9, 2007
My 4 year old and I have read this book over and over. The illustrations are wonderful, the concept of a totem pole being based on a story is clear. The totem pole takes itself apart at night and my daughter tries to remember the story the pole is based on in order to put the pole together again in the right order as the sun rises.
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on December 29, 2008
I wanted to purchase this book a year ago, but I waited because I wanted to see if I could find it at my local bookstore. I hadn't read it and prefer to look through a book before I commit to buying it. Well, Barnes and Noble didn't have it and couldn't order it because it comes from a very small publishing company. By this time, Amazon ran out. I was kicking myself. I looked online to see if I could find it at another retailer. The only copies available were being sold for $75 because of its limited availability! I couldn't believe it. I signed up to receive an email message from Amazon when it became available again and promptly ordered it when they had a copy.

I just received my copy and I'm delighted. I am a third grade teacher in Washington and we are about to start a unit on coastal Native Americans. This book is perfect! It was worth the one year wait, but don't make the same mistake I did. Order it right away!
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VINE VOICEon August 5, 2006
As I've often said, what intrigues me most about a book is a "catchy" title and an extremely original storyline. This book has that and much more!

I'm amazed at the simplicity of the plot, but how cute, clever, and creative it is. Who would have thought about the characters carved into a totem pole coming to life and fussing over their order on the pole??? ONLY A CREATIVE, TALENTED AUTHOR ... That's who!

You just HAVE to read this clever book by Deb Vanasse ... and the fabulous art by the equally-talented illustrator is marvelous, too. I understand the illustrator has some books under submission; I hope you get them published, Erik.

Highly recommended!
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on February 13, 2014
Super sweet story, with beautiful illustrations. I actually fell in love with this story simply for what it is when the author came to discuss writing techniques with our middle school students, but purchased it when I became a high school language arts teacher to teach the parts of the plot to my students. It is a great story to read to children and is the perfect story for explaining story structure to older students.
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on November 7, 2007
I just found this book recently and discovered it was written by a teacher I had in high school. She was an inspiring and highly creative teacher that made you love what you were learning. I'm so excited to have my children reading books written by a former teacher of mine.
I'm on the hunt to get the rest of her books. Thank you Ms. Vanasse!
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on September 26, 2014
Fun story about totem pole animals. Though it doesn't go into the story that the totem pole is supposed to be telling as much as I'd like. Good for younger kids, not too wordy.
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on June 17, 2014
We just went to Alaska and saw totem poles in Ketchikan and the kids (ages 3 and 4) loved the stories and seeing them. This book is perfect for remembering our trip.
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on May 23, 2015
Purchased for my PreKindergarten unit on Pacific Coast Native Americans. One of their favorite "read it again" books! Thank you.
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