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Showing posts with label Navajo stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Navajo stories. Show all posts

11.20.2013

Turkey's Gift to the People (1992)

Retold and Illustrated by Ani Rucki

Berol Primacolor pencils

Scholastic Press

We're coming up on Thanksgiving, and this is a good one to read if you think Turkeys might be good for something other than eating. It's based on a Navajo story, though the form of it reminded me of the Lenape tale Rainbow Crow. In Rainbow Crow, the earth was about to be consumed by snowfall, but in this tale, a "wall of water" is headed towards the land, first spotted by the Crow, and all the animals must figure out how to escape.

I like the threat of impending doom, and it is great to see how the animals work together to escape. There is no single easy solution, they must all share ideas and use their abilities to ensure that they are all safe.

Mouse has the idea to hide in the giant reeds.

Beaver gnaws an opening in them.

Spider weaves a web so they can climb to the top of the reeds.

Wasp seals the opening back up again.

All of the animals are accounted for... excepting the Turkeys. Where are the Turkeys? Eagle goes gliding over the earth, seeing the oncoming tidal wave, but also the Turkeys, running for their lives.

"Hurry!" Eagle shouted. "You can make it!"

Later, safe and sound, the Turkeys explain, "You forgot the seeds."

Then he spread his feathers, letting the thousands of seeds that he and his wife had collected fall to the ground - the seeds the People would need to rebuild and survive after the flood waters receeded.
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