cover image How Turtle's Back Was Cracked: 2a Traditional Cherokee Tale

How Turtle's Back Was Cracked: 2a Traditional Cherokee Tale

Gayle Ross. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1728-2

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. (Mar.)