cover image How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

Joseph Bruchac, James Bruchac. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2404-4

In Bruchac and his son's (When the Chenoo Howls) serviceable retelling of a Native American pourquoi tale, Brown Squirrel challenges prideful Bear to keep the sun from rising. When the sun does rise, and Brown Squirrel teases Bear, Bear threatens to eat Brown Squirrel, and his claw marks transform the fellow into Chipmunk. Though the prose occasionally falters (e.g., ""Everyone was happy except for one animal. That animal was Bear"" or the advice of Brown Squirrel's grandmother, ""It is good to be right about something. But when someone else is wrong, it is not a good idea to tease him""), the dialogue is effective and invites audience participation--especially the repeated phrases with sound effects, as when the quarrelsome pair sit side by side all night chanting: ""The sun will not come up, hummph!"" and ""The sun is going to rise, oooh!"" Aruego and Dewey (Antarctica Antics) create lush landscapes, but Bear and Brown Squirrel are uncharacteristically bland, often featuring the same facial expressions repeatedly. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)