Thursday, October 30, 2014

Between Earth & Sky

Legends of Native American Sacred Places
Written by Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by Thomas Locker
Bruchac, Joseph. Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places. Ill. by Thomas Locker. San Diego, CA: Harcout Brace & Company, 1996. ISBN 0152000429

Plot Summary
This inspiring book consists of ten Native American legends spoken through poems. The majestic illustrations tell the story of sacred lands that the Native American cultures cherish. 

Critical Analysis
Bruchac provides readers with important background information about the book at the very beginning. It stresses the importance of the North American landscape that the Native American culture hold sacred. He also teaches readers that Native American cultures recognize seven directions, North, South, East, West, Earth (Above), Sky (Below), and the direction within all of us. In the back of the book is a map of North America with tribe names, separation of the continent, and symbols of some of the sacred places the Native Americans hold dear, like the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. There is also a guide for pronunciations of words used throughout the book. At the end of each poem the direction it represents and the tribe are listed. This book screams authenticity for Native American culture. Bruchac's Abenaki-Native American ancestry plays a major role in the true essence and true meanings of his culture.
Locker's quiet yet magnificent illustrations of the lands were created with oils on canvas. He uses such detail that readers can view the markings and reflections of the trees, mist from the waterfalls, and sun rays through cloudy skies. The few illustrations with people have them dressed in a more traditional buck-skin with bows in their hands.

Review Excerpts
  • "Each tale is a model of economy, gracefully distilling its message, while Locker's landscapes capture the mysticism inherent in each setting." -Horn Book
  • "It is difficult to convey the beliefs of an entire people in one brief legend divorced from the rest of their tradition, yet these selections point to the richness possible in looking at the sky in a spiritual way." -School Library Journal
  • "Here, short, easy-to-understand legends are accompanied by full-page oil paintings in Locker's dramatic signature style." -Booklist
More books by Joseph Bruchac
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back [9780698115842]
  • The Earth Under Sky Bear's Feet [9780698116474]
  • The First Strawberries [9780140564099]

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