How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet: Native American Animal Origin Stories

Gerald Hausman, Author, Michael Hague, Illustrator, Ashley Wolff, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $14.95 (41p) ISBN 978-0-06-022906-1
Hausman's (Turtle Island ABC) retelling of seven Navajo, Koasati Creek and Tsimshian tales is a standout in an increasingly crowded genre. His tone is casual and unpretentious, his rhythm and pacing impeccable. Because the stories all feature animals that in each tribe ``are thought of as people,'' they offer many subtle lessons about human behavior. In ``How Horse Got Fast,'' slow-footed Horse kindly waits for a poky caterpillar to cross his path. The caterpillar, who then changes into a butterfly, rewards Horse with swiftness rivaling his own. Most stories include a visit by beneficent Mother Earth, who rights wrongs and fosters harmony. Using her customary linoleum block prints painted with watercolors, Wolff (A Year of Beasts; A Year of Birds) strikingly combines detailed Native American borders with her almost classical, storybook-style illustrations-a fitting blend, given the book's artfully achieved relevance to two very different cultures. Ages 4-8. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Genre: Children's
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