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They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths Paperback – July 9, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With tea leaves and in the night sky, people have always tried to impose patterns on seemingly random groupings. This well-researched, thoughtful collection brings together star myths from such Native American tribes as the Navajo, Pawnee, Shasta and Micmac. Coyote is a bungler who causes trouble on every front: in one story he peeks into a jar and scatters the stars (and then is sent to wander, unwanted, across the earth); in another, he shoots arrows into the sky, which he and five Wolf Brothers ascendbut he descends alone. One of the stories about Pleiades tells of six wives who eat wild onions but are scorned by their husbands for the smell of their breath. They leave and climb a rope to the sky. Given the oral tradition of these tribes and the need to preserve the tales, this poetically rendered compilation is especially valuable. Text decorations show symbols, patterns, constellations and some of the many tricksters. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8 This volume of Native American star legends is well researched and told in language that lends itself well to reading aloud. The first two groups of stories deal with the Pleiades and the Big Dipper; thereafter, they are organized by geographic area. Each group has introductory notes about the tribes of the area and their general beliefs, providing a context for the legends which follow. Notes at the end of each section correlate Indian and Western names for constellations and stars whenever possible. In addition to tales from well-known tribes such as Navajo and Mohawk, there are selections from Tlingit, Wasco, Picuris, and other small groups. Coyote appears in many of the tales, causing trouble whenever he appears. Wolves, bears, eagles, and other animals also inhabit the storiesand the night sky. The book is decorated with black-and-white drawings of a variety of Indian symbols, of the constellations, and of animals and people, which lend life and movement to the pages. Similar to Star Tales (Walker, 1987) by Gretchen Will Mayo, this volume is more comprehensive and better documented, a book that will not only be useful for assignments, but provide many hours of reading and listening pleasure. Li Stark, North Castle Public Library, Armonk, N.Y.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618809120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618809127
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"They Dance In The Sky" is divided into chapters that focus on particular regions of North America. Within each chapter are descriptions of the tribes in that region and then retellings of several of their star myths. At the end of each chapter the reader will find a listing of each tribe's constellations or important stars, and the Western equivalent, if known.

This book doesn't go into detail about the significance of the myths or the specific stars that figured into the tales, but it does give a broad representation of the kinds of tales told by the various peoples. This makes it a lighter read, and for some that's just right.

Don Childrey, author of "STAR TRAILS: Navajo, A Different Way To Look At The Night Sky"
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Organized around two different constellations, the Big Dipper and the Pleiades. Gives star stories about these two constellations from a variety of Native American tribes. Since both are easy to find in the night sky, it's easy for kids (and adult beginners) to locate the stars that the first Americans interpreted in their own ways. I collect Native American mythology and work in a museum, and am contributing to a planetarium program currently in the works, re how the Native Americans viewed the night sky and the stories they told about the stars. This book is most helpful--Thank you!
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Format: Paperback
I agree this book doesn't go into detail about the significance of the myths or the specific stars that figured into the tales, but it does give a broad representation of the kinds of tales told by the various peoples. This makes it a lighter read and make also to any researcher a good initial guide for etnoastronomy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is perfect as a bedtime story book for older kids. I used it on a camping trip and found that they became more interested in astronomy the longer I read the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book included many Native American tales for constellations. It didn't have as many Plains/Upper Midwest stories as I had hoped.
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