cover image Iktomi and the Boulder: A Plains Indian Story

Iktomi and the Boulder: A Plains Indian Story

Paul Goble. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05760-5

The coyote is a familiar trickster in Native American myths and legends, and now Goble introduces readers to another genuine mischief-maker from the Plains Indian tales. A man named Iktomi sets off in full finery to visit friends and relatives in the next village. During the course of his travels, he gives a large boulder his blanket, which is making him hot, and then takes it back when he needs shelter from the rain. The angry boulder rolls after Iktomi and pins him to the ground, until Iktomi provokes some bats by hurling insults at them, which he claims he heard from the boulder. The bats go after the rock until it is mere pebbles, strewn everywhere. Although the story doesn't mention the idea of ``Indian-giving'' anywhere, the concept is a motivating force in the plot. Iktomi's story is a hilarious departure from Goble's other, more traditional tellings (the recent Her Seven Brothers , and the Caldecott Medal-winning The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses ). Comic asides abound, and the typeface cues readers as to places where improvisation is allowed. With all the somber myths and legends around, Iktomi's tale will elicit guffaws, a reward this troublemaker justly deserves. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 3-7. (September)