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Her Seven Brothers


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About the Author

Paul Goble has received wide acclaim for his magnificent books, including Buffalo Woman, Dream Wolf, Her Seven Brothers, and the winner of the 1979 Caldecott Medal, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. Commenting on his work in Beyond the Ridge, Horn Book Magazine said, "striking elements synthesize the graphics with the narrative and spiritual aspects of the text." The New York Times Book Review noted that his technique is "a marriage of authentic design and contemporary artistry, and it succeeds beautifully." Paul Goble's most recent book for Bradbury Press, I Sing for the Animals, was called "a lovely, small book that movingly conveys profound belief in the goodness of creation" by Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal said it "fits as easily in the hand as Goble's meditations about the natural world do in the heart."


Gr 2-4 Goble once more combines a respectful retelling of a Cheyenne legend with dynamic paintings depicting both traditional Indian life and the beauty of the natural world. In the legend, a young girl, known for her skilled embroidery, sews beautiful shirts and moccasins for seven brothers in the north who have no sister. She travels north to their home where she becomes a loved and honored sister. They all live happily until the chief of the buffalo nation demands the girl for himself. When the brothers refuse he sends his people against them in a stampede. They flee to the safety of the star prairies, where they now form the big dipper. Sources for both the story and the clothing designs are given. Goble's adaptation is distinguished by its restraint; he resists the temptation to dramatize the tale, choosing instead the quiet, matter-of-fact voice of the traditional Indian storyteller. The illustrations, by contrast, are boldly graphic, with dynamic patterns, brilliant color, and strong line dramatically imposed on the white of the page. While the elements are all from the natural world, Goble stylizes and idealizes them, creating fields of texture, merging from realistic foliage and animals to abstract, flattened shapes. Like the story, the characters are never particularized. Goble keeps the human characters at a distance and flattens their faces, removing all individuality. At the same time he lingers over the design of the clothing and the painted tipis. Once again Goble's admiration for the Plains Indians has been combined with his considerable gifts as a painter to produce a seamless whole. Eleanor K. MacDonald, Palos Verdes Library District, Calif.

With the same artistry of his Caldecott Medal-winning The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Goble retells a Cheyenne star legendhow the Big Dipper came into being. A lovely Indian maiden, who finds inspiration in her love and respect for the spirits, creates seven sets of moccasins and shirts, somehow knowing that she must go in search of the seven brothers who live far from her home. When she arrives, the smallest brother is waiting for herhe, too, has power from the spirits to see and know special things. The Chief of the Buffalo Nation wants the young Indian woman to join him, but she will not go; the buffaloes charge. The youngest brother shoots an arrow into the sky and a pine tree appears, growing with the arrow's flight. They all climb into the sky and become the stars of the constellationthe maiden a smaller star nearby. This is a spry telling, dignified but lively. Thickly applied watercolors give the pictures intense hues, and an earthy but bright palette is set off with sky tones: slate blue mingles with sage green, brick orange and rich brown. All ages. (March)

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