cover image Kanahena: A Cherokee Story

Kanahena: A Cherokee Story

Susan L. Roth. St. Martin's Press, $9.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-312-01722-4

While the Kanahena (corn meal and water) cooks over the fire, an old woman tells a girl about a clever turtle. Possum is tossing persimmons down from a tree to Terrapin, but Bad Wolf blocks the way and takes the fruit for himself. Then Bad Wolf (thanks to Possum's cunning) chokes on a particularly large persimmon and dies. Terrapin cuts off his ears to use for spoons for eating Kanahena. When the other wolves seek out Terrapin for revenge, the turtle outsmarts them all, but in the process his shell is crackedwhich is why turtles have shells with seams. Roth's collage illustrations are composed of bits of dried leaf (the veins of the leaf give the old woman's dress a bias-cut grain), felt and other textured materials. Earthy colors with zig-zags of orange and turquoise bring the story to its satisfying close with a recipe for Kanahena. Ages 6-up. (July)