A dramatic retelling of a Comanche legend of how Texas became known as the blue bonnet state.
"Come every spring
the bluebonnets cling
to prairies the showers renew.
Come, gather near,
settle down, and you’ll hear
of how the first bluebonnets grew."
This beautiful Comanche legend of how a young girl sacrifices her most precious possession, even as the bravest men refuse, to save her land and people from a terrible drought, is retold here in dramatic verse and striking full-color paintings.
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Michael Lind is the highly regarded author of many books for adults, including The Alamo: An Epic, which the Los Angeles Times named as one of the Best Books of 1997. Formerly the Washington editor at Harper’s magazine and a staff writer at The New Yorker, he is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. A native of Texas, Mr. Lind currently lives in Washington, D.C. This is his first book for children.
Kate Kiesler is the illustrator of a number of highly praised books for children, including Taiko on a Windy Night, written by Sally Derby. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she worked as an assistant to the noted illustrator Barry Moser before beginning her own career in children’s books. Ms. Kiesler now lives in Colorado.
Grade 2-4-This long-winded retelling in verse of the legend of the Texas Bluebonnet lacks child appeal. The story, popularized in Tomie dePaola's The Legend of the Bluebonnet (Putnam, 1983), finds the Comanche people suffering from a dearth of rain. In Lind's version, Spirit Talker tells the people that the drought is punishment for people's greediness, and that "Whatever you own that you treasure,/what you will not trade for a price,/that you must toss in the campfire,/that you must sacrifice." No one is willing to destroy a most prized possession, and the people leave the campfire with their heads bowed in shame. That night, one girl tosses her beloved doll into the fire. The rains come, and in the morning, the plains are covered in blue flowers. The versions of this story available online and in dePaola's book suggest a different interpretation of these people; they have become selfish (not "greedy"), and must make a smoke offering of the most prized possession among them. All of them consider their own thing of value to be too insignificant, but the girl knows that it is her beloved doll that the spirits must want. Lind's different (and less kindly) interpretation is further burdened by belabored verse in varying meter and rhyme that, though occasionally lovely (usually when elaborating on a nonessential detail of setting), makes the story far too long and ponderous. Kiesler's impressionistic acrylic illustrations are full of light and color, but aren't well served by Lind's words.
Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Kate Kiesler (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0805065733
Book Description Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110805065733
Book Description Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0805065733 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1312271