BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Children's Book Week Review of The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs & Other Stories from the Tipi by Paul Goble

Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Format Read: I started with an Egalley and then switched to print
Source: I received an egalley from the publisher & I won a hardcover on goodreads, both in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: June 2012
Buying Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Blurb from goodreads:
In this beautifully illustrated book by award-winning author Paul Goble, readers can discover the fascinating story of how horses first appeared to the tribes of the American Plains. In his final collection of stories from the tipi, Goble features a collection of 23 traditional stories from the Blackfoot, Lakota, Assiniboin, Pawnee, and Cheyenne nations. This book features a foreword by Lauren Candy Waukau-Villagomez, an educator and author of works on the oral traditions and storytelling of the North American tribes.

Bea's Thoughts:

The artwork in this book is gorgeous, with vibrant colors done in a semi-primitive folk style. I can see young children looking at the pictures and making up their own stories. The stories themselves are more suited for older children, say elementary school age, or for curious adults. Goble admits that they are pared down versions of oral traditions and some of them are quite short or end abruptly. The vocabulary is occasionally more adult than you might expect in a book marketed for children, but I don't have a problem with that; in my opinion it's better than talking down to children and encourages them to ask more questions. If the majority of the vocabulary were over their heads, then that would be frustrating. Some of the topics, such as attempted murder, are a bit much for children. I should point out that the author states in his Author's Note that he chose only stories that he felt "fit comfortably with today's thinking, avoiding stories which involve revenge or killing,...the stories are abbreviated; oral tellings would have been much longer." He apparently forgot about the story where wives try to kill their husband.

Goble assigns each story to a Native American tribe but freely admits that such designations are often arbitrary and that tribes hundreds or thousands of miles apart had similar stories. I found some of the stories to be dry; some, as I mentioned, were rather abrupt; and others were engrossing. The stories themselves are a mix of parables, morality plays and creation stories. Each story has a forward, afterward or even both, to give some context to the story for modern readers and the back of the book has a bibliography for readers interested in doing more research. "The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs and Other Stories from the Tipi" is a good primer for Native American Folklore. It's a rich and complex tradition and the stories, I am certain, only scratch the surface.


  1. This sounds delightful and a perfect book to donate to the woman and childrens shelter, since younger peeps can look at pictures and older kids, mother can read it. Thanks Bea!

    1. Hmm, I hadn't thought of donating it to a shelter but that's a good idea.

  2. I've always loved Native American stories. These sound very interesting with both great illustrations and the stories. I like that there is an attempt to put them in context and a bibliography.


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