Friday, May 13, 2011


I am always on the look out for books that support the curriculum at my school.  I am always on the look out for good books.  So imagine my delight when I found the perfect combination of the two while browsing my local public library shelves.
First off, Trickster is gorgeous.  It has shelf appeal and format appeal coming out the wazoo.  And then comes the content, which does everything else all kinds of justice.

As you can imagine, what lies within is a collection of trickster tales that are haunting, beautiful, humorous and clever all at once.  There are 20 tales in all, and readers will find some common threads between tales.  Azban and the Crayfish (Bruchac, Bruchac, & Dembicki) tells the story of a clever raccoon and a lying crayfish, while How Wildcat Caught A Turkey (Stands With Many & Sperry) tells a similar tale about a tricky rabbit and some not-so-lucky turkeys.  Not all of the stories feature animals alone as some may assume.   The tall tale of Moshup's Bridge (Perry, Piers & White), and When Coyote Decided to Get Married (Thorsgard & Arrington) are just two of the stories that feature human characters along side a cast of animals.

Stylistically, the art runs the gamut from hauntingly realistic illustrations to cartoon, yet the collection never feels disjointed.  Each story is like a fresh new breath, and the art simply compliments the feeling.

End-notes feature a statement from Matt Dembicki speaking of his inspiration to get this collection together.  After reading American Indian Trickster Tales, by Ortiz and Erdoes he realized how little he knew of Native American culture and wanted to put together a collection of tales in sequential format. Dembicki wanted to make sure that the stories were all written by Native American storytellers and that he had the support of the community.  The end product is this collection.   There are also mini biographies of all of the storytellers and artists involved in the creation of Trickster, and these are sure to give inspiration to budding storytellers and artists alike.

While I will be returning this collection to the library, I will also be going out to purchase it to live on my book shelf at home.

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