cover image Brave as a Mountain Lion

Brave as a Mountain Lion

Ann Herbert Scott. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66760-6

Set on a contemporary Shoshone reservation, this book is a refreshingly atypical addition to the Native American genre. Spider, a boy terrified of participating in his school's spelling bee, is strengthened by the loving and distinctly Native American advice given by each member of his family. Encouraged to think himself ""brave as a mountain lion, clever as a coyote, silent as a spider,"" he earns second place. Using watercolors and pastels, Coalson (On Mother's Lap) imbues wintry Nevada scenes with the warmth and intimacy appropriate to this sweetly ordinary tale. Counterbalancing the current tendency to treat Native Americans via their folklore, Scott (Cowboy Country) presents a current, highly relevant story in which the Native American setting is no mere window-dressing: it defines the characters and the unique way they deal with a universal problem. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)