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Grade 4-8-This book looks convincingly like a drawn and written record made by a student at the historic Carlisle Indian School in the late 19th century, but it is in fact a work of fiction. Thomas describes aspects of his life on the plains with his beloved pony, Two Painted Horse. A Crow raid and his own successful coup against a white trapper provide narrative incident. Most of the story involves the boy's adjustment to the school, where he learns the white man's ways without rejecting his own. But for whom is he creating this account. Why does he describe his still-viable culture in the past tense. And, most important, why interpolate a fantastic incident from Lakota legend (better retold in Rosebud Yellow Robe's Tonweya and the Eagles [Dial, 1992]) into an otherwise realistic account. Such questions may hardly occur to readers taken with the look of this book-its copperplate, hand-written text and the "aged," colourful, pictograph-like art. Everything so suggests an authentic document (the authors' research and a Lakota advisor further vouch for the background veracity) that the inconspicuous fictional disclaimer at the back may be overlooked. If the volume's loose narrative cohesion is also verisimilar, the liveliness and interest of the art is a real counterweight.
Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A visually stunning fictional account of a young nineteenth-century Sioux warrior's quest for knowledge that takes him from the plains of his childhood to a far-off boarding school where he learns the ways of the white world--and the value of his own traditions. A hand-calligraphed tribute to the narrative pictographs recorded by Plains artists in the ruled ledgerbooks they acquired in trade, the weaving of Cvijanovic's richly detailed original illustrations in the "ledger" style into a simply written story inspired by actual events holds appeal for young readers and those who wish to learn more about Native American art and history.