cover image Dancing with the Indians

Dancing with the Indians

Angela Shelf Medearis. Holiday House, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0893-1

Based on the author's family history, this intercultural celebration recounts an African American family's participation in a Seminole Indian powwow in 1930s Oklahoma. Though Medearis's four-line verses are awkwardly rhymed and lack proper meter, her commendable work offers glimpses of a rarely explored chapter in the shared histories of two historically oppressed peoples. The strongly colored paintings by first-time illustrator Byrd depict flickering firelit dancers and the area's natural beauty with a certain verve; his human figures, however--particularly the faces--are often distorted and stiff. The one-page afterword provides youngsters with additional information on the historical context for this picture book set in ``Okehema''--``red people'' in the Seminole language. This book's audience will no doubt forgive its flaws and appreciate the preservation of a neglected bit of history. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)