cover image The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story

The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story

Gerald Hausman, illus. by Ramon Shiloh. Wisdom Tales, $17.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-937786-12-0

In this Creek flood story, the world is populated by “animal people”; the Noah figure is a river otter, eloquently named Listener, and the flood prophecy—as well as instructions for building a watertight raft, anchored to “the tallest water oak in the woods”—comes in the form of a song from bright-green Spotted Frog. In beautifully direct prose, Hausman evokes Listener’s diligence and the watery cataclysm he survives: “Far below the gloom, fish flew like silent birds through the sunken trees. Alligators and manatees swam through the silence of the deepening flood.” The story’s second half, in which a lonely but patient Listener struggles to find companionship (he is eventually rewarded with both a mate and transformation into a human being) may test some younger readers’ patience, but Shiloh’s (Star Stories for Little Dreamers) illustrations, which have a hand-painted quality, should hold their attention. The pictures are woven into the story and range from folk art–like motifs to strikingly realistic portraiture, creating a sense of a Native American illuminated manuscript. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)