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How Turtle's Back Was Cracked: A Traditional Cherokee Tale Hardcover – March 1, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ross and Jacob follow up their How Rabbit Tricked Otter with another authentic retelling of a Cherokee animal tale. When best friends Possum and Turtle tangle with a greedy wolf, the incident ends in the wolf's finish at Possum's hand-although Turtle takes the credit. As he flaunts his triumph, word swiftly travels to the wolf pack. A fleet-footed posse captures Turtle easily and brings him to an execution council; crafty Turtle outwits the wolves by begging them to do anything except throw him into the river. Not quite according to his plan, Turtle lands first on a rock, then bounces into the water. His shell sustains multiple cracks, but he nevertheless limps to safety. Jacob's tapestry-like acrylics, dense with pattern and detail, bring memorable theater to this story-they suggest a world in which everything, even the breezes in the sky, has tangible presence and import. The prose reflects Ross's expertise as a professional storyteller as well as her intimacy with Cherokee culture (a note on the jacket explains that she is a direct descendant of the chief who led the Cherokee Nation on the Trail of Tears). An endnote briefly summarizes Cherokee history. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3?A moral about behavior is linked to this Cherokee pourquoi tale. When Turtle's friend Possum kills a greedy wolf, Turtle not only takes all the credit for the deed, but boasts and flaunts his trophies. The wolves take revenge on him, but they are stupid and quarrelsome, and Turtle tricks them into throwing him into the river instead of a fire. Although he escapes death, he hits a rock and his shell is cracked into pieces. He cleverly sews himself back together, but since then all turtle shells show the joins. Jacob's naive paintings depict animals in Cherokee dress. Stylized sun and moon faces look out of a pointillist sky, and there is an autumnal hue to the landscape. Details like Turtle's wolf-ear spoons and the male body ornaments and fringed belts add authenticity. Patterned borders also use traditional design motifs. The whole has neither the slickness of Paul Goble's artwork nor the softness of Jeffers's; the crowded, somewhat clumsy ensemble evokes a time before "real" time began, a world without air or space, which is still not quite finished. A solid addition to folklore collections.?Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; 1st edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803717288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803717282
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.4 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,046,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book, which is based on an original Cherokee tale, is great! This book would be good for teachers to introduce and teach the moral lesson that being too boastful and bragging too much will lead to trouble. Back when all the animals could talk, Possum and Turtle were best friends. They both loved to eat persimmons. A greedy wolf decided to steal the persimmons from the friends one day, and Possum got angry so he slew the wolf. Turtle thinks he slew the thieving wolf, and he becomes too overconfident of his skill, as a mighty hunter. Turtle began to brag and boast to everyone that he had slain the mighty wolf. All his boasting soon lands Turtle into a heap of trouble with the rest of the wolves.
Teachers could use the audio version of this book to help struggling readers develop better reading skills and become more fluent readers. Also, this book could be used during Buddy Reading activities. If the book is too challenging for one student, the teacher can pair that student together with a stronger reader, so together both of the students will be able to enjoy reading the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Hi! You can call me StoryMaker. Gayle Ross's descriptive version of a traditional folktale (How Turtle's Back Was Cracked) is great. This Cherokee myth explains why turtles have interesting patterns on their shells. Once, there was a turtle who was friends with a possum. Turtle and Possum shared persimmons (a kind of fruit) with each other. Possum would drop persimmons down into Turtle's mouth from a persimmon tree. One day, a wolf snatched the persimmons before they could enter Turtle's mouth. Possum decided that the wolf has got to go! Because Turtle closed his eyes while he opened his mouth, he assumed that he killed the wolf. Turtle goes to everyone's houses, bragging and showing them some wolf-ear spoons that he made and eating with them. Soon, Turtle gets into trouble! This book encouraged me to eat a persimmon. Persimmons really get your mouth fuzzy! This fun, descriptive book is great for all ages! However, all the way to the end of the book, Possum is the only one who knows who killed the wolf - no one discovers this secret. Plus, wolf ears attached to sticks probably wouldn't make good spoons - you might get earwax in your mouth. I like wolves, anyway. Overall, a good book for anyone who likes folktales. Signed, StoryMaker. "Gotta trust the kid's review!"
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Format: Hardcover
I think How the Turtle's back was cracked is an excellent story! I loved it when I read it. It's for people who love folktales. It actually seemed as though it could really happen. I think if you like folktales or you just like animal stories you should really read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book
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