Book Review Of A Trickster Tale

What's keeping kids intrigued and excited about Native American storytelling and mythology? Yip, you guessed it – Raven.

A trickster well-known to enthusiasts of Native American myths, Raven is an absolute hit with children.

Not just a character revered in native
art and oral traditions, Raven is alive
and flying in this book created by American author and artist, Gerald McDermott.

This big black bird's antics may be mischievous and naughty, but his intentions are good at heart. After all, he's here to save the world from darkness! If you want to get more than just the gist of what Raven's about, don't stop reading.

Raven book cover imageCredit: © Gerard McDermott

Children's Favorite Picture Book

Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest is suited to children aged four years and up. Featuring scenic and imaginative imagery, it translates a famous Native American origin story onto the page in a spontaneous way. Combining color and scale with a plot that flows along with simple language, children enjoy following the story as it mysteriously unfolds.

Raven is an insightful pictorial journey. It explores the origin myth of the sun, as related to the coastal tribes of the Pacific Northwest, and focuses on ancient imagery and a timeless tale. Raven puts a brave face on the idea of transforming one's self and the world through the power of myth. 

This book celebrates indigenous storytelling and pays tribute to one section of the rich, diverse culture that exists within the shores of the North American continent. Ever since it was published, the book has remained a favorite with young children (and yes, adults just like me!), with pages becoming dog-earred and torn, well before their time.

Native American Animal Story For Kids

Gerald McDermott retells the story of a traditional Native American tale and depicts how the sun found its way into the sky, due to the cheeky, cunning actions of Raven. As a trickster, Raven secretly finds his way into the house of the Sky Chief, without anyone knowing his true identity. In time, he convinces the chief and his daughter to give him what he most desires – the moon, stars and sun.

Throughout the story, Raven appears in dramatic colors. Red, green, blue and black, he is a sharp, bold character, who contrasts with great effect, against the soft, moody trees, sea and interiors. With images of the Pacific Northwest filling many of the pages, it is a great story that creates lasting memories for children.

This book appeals to anyone who has an appreciation for native culture. It helps to support our understanding and knowledge of different cultures, and the power associated with origin myths and animals. The simple, easy-to-read text flows in accompaniment with lush-forested illustrations of the Pacific Northwest coast.

Video: Raven book review

Award-winning Mythic Story

Enjoyed by children over generations, Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest is acclaimed as a 'Caldecott Honor Book', 'Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book', 'A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Book' and an 'ALA Notable Children's Book'. Many adults remember this story from their earlier school days and in turn, find it helpful in introducing younger generations to the myths inherent in Native American art. 

If you're like me and have only read it more recently in your so-called 'grown up' years, the story's images are just as memorable and meaningful. Conveying rich cultural insights about the mythic Raven, it is not a story that is forgotten after the book covers are closed. This book definitely deserves the number of honors it has received, since it was first published.

Illustration of Raven flyingCredit: © Gerard McDermott

Native American Legend Worth Keeping

Symbolism is important in the majority of tribal cultures in the world, and is a thread that runs through this story book, and many other 'trickster tales' in the series that Gerald McDermott wrote and illustrated. 

Produced by a master of mythologyRaven is a high-caliber children's book that is hard for kids to put down once they discover the beautiful, unique images that lay within.

To bring such a mythic story to the page, enables the Raven to live and grow in the hearts and imaginations of young people today. With the diversity of cultures, on the planet, Raven shows that the origin of stories do not have to come from some grandiose 'far out' idea. It can come from one belief, one animal in the act of creation.

I hope you enjoyed reading my review of Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. If you haven't read the book already, check it out at your nearest library or buy a copy for yourself or your children. It's worth reading and keeping.