Not so much a collection of ``Native American symbols'' as a smattering of watered-down motifs from Native American cultures, this ABC adds up to not much. A lot of the information here seems empty: Hausman writes, for example, that W is for Wolf, the wanderer who was sent to find the ``secret of the dawn'' and came back without it, a meaningless anecdote unless told in the Native way, as a palatable offering of a life lesson. An introduction purports to add authority to the selection of words, but the book belies it. For instance, X is said to stand for ``the Crossing Place''--a curious and confusing blend of sounds and letters. The ``symbols,'' heavily weighted to the Plains and Southwest cultures, occasionally neglect to indicate origin (as in R is for Round, the shape of the lodge The People live in; this might be a reference to the Navajo hogan, although readers have earlier been shown the boxlike pueblos). Soft-edged, occasionally blurred illustrations in a palette of Southwestern colors are not particularly apt, and the lack of Native design elements results in a very Anglo-looking book. All ages. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994 Release date: 05/01/1994 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.