cover image Crow Chief: A Plains Indian Story

Crow Chief: A Plains Indian Story

Paul Goble. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05947-0

In a rather dry tale from Native American mythology, Goble tells of Crow Chief's comeuppance at the hands of the Savior, Falling Star. Long ago, before buffalo were hunted on horseback, white-feathered Crow Chief caw-cawed noisily to warn grazing herds of approaching hunters. Thus, the buffalo escaped--leaving the Indians hungry--with Crow Chief's laughter echoing across the vast plains. Until one day when Falling Star outwits the crafty bird, and turns the miscreant's feathers black in penance. While culturally and historically enriching, Goble's retelling lacks immediacy: the sights and sounds of a buffalo hunt are lost; the feeling of life on the plains is scarcely captured. In contrast, the artwork is striking: sharp, boldly colored silhouettes, though somewhat at odds with the earthiness of the text, lend an air of slick sophistication. Scatterings of buffalo tracks gallop across pages, rows of Indians form a human border and buffalos' hind legs kick up around the text to add a welcome dynamism. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)