Doesn't Fall off His Horse: A Cherokee Tale

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9780803716353: Doesn't Fall off His Horse: A Cherokee Tale

This magnificent true story offers a rare-and breathtaking-look into the life of a Kiowa boy at the end of the nineteenth century. The story is told by a very old man to his youngest great-granddaughter, Saygee, as he shows her one of his treasures: a leopard skin quiver, obtained at great price from the white traders. But there was one time when the quiver could not help him-the time he participated in a daring raid on an enemy tribe. And so begins the narrative of a dangerous, yet thrilling adventure that will transport young readers back in time to the Oklahoma Territory of the 1890's. The sense of camp life among the tepees of the Kiowa village and the feel of a breathless escape on horseback over the prairie are evoked in Virginia A. Stroud's vivid prose and jewel-like art. A multiple-award-winning Cherokee artist, Virginia A. Stroud now turns her impressive talents to the story of her adoptive Kiowa grandfather-who, like Saygee's grandpa, paid dearly and road bravely to earn his warrior name.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4-Saygee visits her great-grandfather, who shows her one of his treasures, a leopard-skin quiver, and tells her of an adventure when the lucky quiver didn't help him "make a coup." (The concept of counting coup is explained). He and his young friends in his Kiowa band sneak out of camp and steal ponies from a nearby Comanche camp. The raid is successful, but the narrator is badly wounded from a rifle shot. Clinging to his pony and to the leads of two others, he makes it back home and unexpectedly recovers. Although the elders criticize the boys' bad judgment and foolishness, they praise their bravery and bestow an adult warrior name on the narrator-Doesn't Fall Off His Horse. The artist, a Cherokee, retells this incident from her adoptive Kiowa grandfather's childhood. Her paintings are slightly reminiscent of Paul Goble's linear, stylized, brightly colored art, but they are denser and more naturalistic, with less patterning, than his work. Stroud's palette is especially rich in blues. Although Native American picture books are proliferating, this one is notable for depicting children within their culture as both independent and accountable.
Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Saygee's great-grandfather is nearly a hundred years old, and when she comes upon him staring out the window of his room, he tells her the story of his Kiowa Indian name, ``Doesn't Fall Off His Horse.'' It is the tale of a raid he and a friend made on a neighboring Comanche camp to steal some ponies and to ``make a coup,'' which he tells Saygee ``is like a game of tag--a very serious and dangerous game that we played to embarrass and show dishonor to the enemy tribes.'' Saygee's great-grandfather is shot in the neck by a Comanche bullet during the coup, but he doesn't fall off his horse, hence his name. He makes it back to camp and is nursed back to health. An aura of sadness hangs over this well-told story, which is as much about what it's like to grow old and look back at one's youth as it is about Kiowa traditions. Stroud, a Cherokee who was adopted into a Kiowa family, writes beautifully about her adoptive family, and her colorful paintings provide a vibrant backdrop for this unusual book. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Stroud, Virginia A.
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ISBN 10: 0803716354 ISBN 13: 9780803716353
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