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Moonstick: The Seasons of the Sioux (Trophy Picture Books (Paperback)) Paperback – February 16, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. The 13 moons of the Sioux year are marked by notches on a "moonstick," by descriptive names ("Moon of the Thunderstorms," "Cherry-Ripening Moon"), and here by Bunting's poetic evocations of the seasons. The narrator is an unnamed boy, for whom the moons mark the time that must pass before he can hunt, dance, and wear snowshoes like his father and older brothers. Although the father observes philosophically that "life cannot be without sadness," for buffalo or for Sioux, pictures and text depict an idyllic wilderness existence, sans war, famine, or disease. In a style reminiscent of Impressionism, a muted, earth-tone palette, and varied viewpoints, Sandford shows his subjects' lives and activities. Travois, tipi, and parfleche (no words are defined) appear; dress and decoration are carefully delineated as the speaker celebrates the activities and ideas proper to each month. The two final spreads are unexpected. "Many winters have passed," notes the speaker, who is now old: he lives in town and does not hunt. The pictures show farms, roads, telephone lines, and tractors?within the man's lifetime, an utter revolution. So mind-stretching is the sudden change that it may strike only adult readers. No matter, this is a lovely, elegiac book, a romantic paean to a vanished existence.?Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Turtleback edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Bunting (The Pumpkin Fair, p. 947, etc.) turns a sensitive eye to Sioux culture, depicting it truthfully and realistically while incorporating into the book a heartening message to any child whose ancestral ways have passed (even temporarily) into obscurity. The father of the first-person narrator notches a moon-counting stick at the beginning of each of the 13 moons of the Sioux year, a way to mark the passing of the year. Sandford's appealing, unsentimental illustrations link the notches to the passing seasons, from the Moon of the Birth of Calves, through the Cherry-Ripening Moon when the men take part in the Sun Dance, and the Sore-Eyes Moon when snow so dazzles the narrator that his father reassures him that ``changes come and will come again. It is so arranged.'' Soon it is time for a new moonstick, but, in a brief page, readers understand that many moonsticks have come and gone: The child is grown, his culture passed away, and the narrator's livelihood comes from the sale of his wife's beadwork and his own headdresses--``We do not hunt.'' That's the poignant clincher, so it's a relief that the narrator takes his small grandson to cut a stick, to pass on his father's wisdom, to note that changes will come again. Expertly and beautifully told. (Picture book. 5-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Turtleback edition.
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