cover image Iktomi and the Berries: A Plains Indian Story

Iktomi and the Berries: A Plains Indian Story

Paul Goble. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05819-0

Iktomi, the Plains Indian mischief-maker, was last spotted wrestling (successfully) with a vengeful boulder in Iktomi and the Boulder . His first words in this book are, ``I don't like it--That white guy, Paul Goble, is telling stories about me again. . . . '' And no wonder--the havoc Iktomi wreaks in his confrontation with a bunch of berries certainly warrants telling. Iktomi puts on a coyote skin and goes hunting for prairie dogs, visions of his role as bountiful provider urging him on. But the prairie dogs end up laughing at him, as do the ducks. Iktomi becomes so hungry that when he sees berries in the river, he plunges in after them, not realizing (until he nearly drowns) that the berries are merely reflected from their position overhead. In the last scene, Iktomi is humbled once more, and temporarily outfitted not in traditional garb, but in jogger's attire. This is but one way in which Goble reminds readers of the story's contemporary value, a point he also makes in some of Iktomi's comic asides. Colors and patterns whirl across Iktomi's garments--the details applied to every scene are no less invigorating than the storytelling itself. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)