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Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Paperback – June 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These 21 folktales, created by pairing Native storytellers with a variety of artists, feature creatures explaining how things came to be, like islands or stars, or animals playing tricks on one another. Often, the trickster, while trying to take the lazy way, outwits himself, especially when it involves Coyote. In other tales, Raven does whatever people tell him not to do, but ends up with a free meal anyway, and Rabbit tricks some buffalo and wolves and is tricked by Fox into losing his tail. Many of the stories, some of which involve tribespeople as well as animals, are told through captions, as though listening to an elder and envisioning the images he describes. Micah Farritor's art in Coyote and the Pebbles and Dembicki's in Azban (Raccoon) and the Crayfish are standouts in their animal images. The diverse styles are presented in lavish color in this thick, handsome volume. The short collection of contributor bios at the end is a helpful resource for finding more about the artist's credits or the writer's heritage. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—More than 40 storytellers and cartoonists have contributed to this original and provocative compendium of traditional folklore presented in authentic, colorful, and engaging sequential art. The stories are drawn from a variety of Native peoples across North America, and so the trickster character appears variously as Rabbit, a raccoon, Coyote, and in other guises; landscapes, clothing and rhythms of speech and action also vary in keeping with distinct traditions. Realistic, impressionistic, painterly, and cartoon styles of art are employed to echo and announce the tone of each tale and telling style, making this a rich visual treasure as well as cultural trove. Contributors include well-known author Joseph Bruchac, Pueblo storyteller Eldrena Douma, cartoonist and Smithsonian Institution employee Evan Keeling, and many who have not worked in comics heretofore as well as cartoonists with no previous allegiance to telling Native stories with their art. The total package is accessible, entertaining, educational, inspiring, and a must-have for all collections.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing; F First Edition edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555917240
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555917241
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cartoonist Matt Dembicki is the artist/writer of graphic novels such as the award-winning nature parable 'Mr. Big.' He edited the recently released 'Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection' from Fulcrum Publishing. He is about to complete work on his Ignatz Award-nominated 'Xoc' (pronounced "Shock"), an ecological tale about a great white shark. He is also a founding member of the D.C. Conspiracy, a comics creators' collaborative in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
This year I helped a committee come up with the 100 best books for children. This list has been produced for a while and each year we make sure to include a folk and fairytale section. The problem? With each passing year publishers produce less and less folk and fairytales for kids. In the past this was a serious category, with a variety of different authors and illustrators all battling it out for folktale supremacy. Nowadays, you can read through a big publisher's full catalog for the upcoming season and not find a single solitary folktale gracing their lists. It's sad really. Maybe that's part of the reason that Trickster, as edited by Matt Dembicki, appealed so strongly to me. This isn't just a graphic novel and it isn't just a pairing of smart writers and great artists. Dembicki has come up with a way of collecting a wide variety of Native American folktales into a single source, done in such a way that kids will find themselves enthralled. When was the last time a book of folktales enthralled one of your kids anyway? It's remarkable. Not that it's a perfect collection (there are a couple things I'd change) but generally speaking I hope Trickster acts as a sign of good things to come. I wouldn't call it the ultimate solution to the current folktale crisis but I would call it a solution. And in this day and age of publishing, there's something to be said for that.

Twenty-one Native American storytellers are paired with twenty-one artists. Each storyteller tells a tale about a trickster type character. Coyote, raven, rabbit, raccoon, dog, wolf, beaver, and wildcat all have their day. The sheer range of storytellers is impressive, calling upon folks from Hawaii to the Eastern shore, from Alaska to Florida. Sometimes the stories are told traditionally.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donald M. Wood on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up an early copy of Trickster at the SPACE convention in Columbus, Oh. in April. I have been reading bits and pieces of it here and there. I think that Trickster is a great showcase of different artists and writers on par with Image comics Comic Book Tattoo and Popgun anthologies. It differs in the fact that it is based on the "trickster" stories of Native Americans being the root theme.

Trickster has a great variety of artists that fit well with each of the different stories. I also think that this book is a great example of how graphic storytelling can reach a greater audience than just the core comic reader.

Each of the stories showcase a different aspect of the trickster persona that makes up a great deal of Native American lore and cautionary tales. The stories vary from cartoony versions of characters, storybook style illustration and fully painted tales.

The production quality of the book is beautiful,the artwork is well represented here. I highly recommend this book!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John B. Mitchell on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Trickster is a great volume that reaches out to an very different collection of readers. The graphics are incredible and range from very abstract to the traditional comic. The size of the book is well thought out! It's not too big, so you can read each page with 3-5 panels and enjoy the non-busy pages of graphics. The artists have seemed to put a lot of themselves and their feelings into the stories. The Native American writers are unique. They give their geographic trickster life and take the reader on a quick adventure towards some lesson. I Googled the artists and storytellers and there were only a few I couldn't get a lot of information (if any) from. So I can see that most have an impressive track records. Well done!! Get this and learn about this important tradition and oh, you'll find out that Native Americans are still here - their not gone!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Folkloric stories are powerful. They can be emotional, funny, uplifting, or scary. But they always have pull to them, and that's why they continue to haunt and entertain people.

While there are special classes in school that teach mythology and folklore, it isn't always easy to find a class on Native American stories. Unfortunately, these stories are often pushed aside just as Native American culture and history can so often get left out of textbooks. Trickster: Native American Tales--A Graphic Collection is a unique remedy for this. In the form of a comic book, it tells 21 Native tales about tricksters. The tales range in style and emotion: Some are straightforward, some are humorous, some are frightening. All of them are interesting.

While the collection is edited by Matt Dembicki, who also illustrated one of the stories, Trickster offers a wide variety of talent. Dembicki explains in his afterword: "For this book, I wanted the stories to be authentic, meaning they would be written by Native American storytellers." He was able to find many talented people to help him make this collection a reality. One aspect that's really interesting is how different the stories are from one another. Even if elements and storylines can be similar, each artist and writer has a unique way of portraying the story. The style of art especially varies: Some stories are dark and realistic; some are comical and outrageous; some look as if they came from the Sunday morning funnies section; some look like the art from children's books; some look like cartoons one might see on television.

The binding thread for all the stories is that each one deals with a trickster. Sometimes the tricksters are animals like Coyote or Rabbit. Other times they're humans.
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