Review Blog

Jan 26 2009

Lord of the animals by Fiona French

cover image

Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2008. ISBN 978184507916 1
(Ages: 4+) This retelling of a Native American Creation Myth was first published in 1997, and tells the story of how man was created by the Coyote which created the world. Each animal is asked what he would have as the lord of the animals, but each has a different idea, based on their own attributes. Coyote asks them to fashion their own idea in clay, and then as they sleep, their clay models are swept away by the river, and only the one made by Coyote remains.
When he breathes life into his model, man stands up with the legs of a bear, the sight and hearing of the deer, the skin smooth like a fish, and with his ability to swim, and most of all, the cunning and cleverness of the coyote.
Fiona French uses the patterning of the Indian Nations to fashion her bright, angular drawings, recalling the detail on the hem of the Indian woman's dress, the decoration at the top of the tipi, the saddle on the horse and the armbands on the warrior. The story is taken from two sources quoted on the publication details page, and is a story of the Miwok Indians of what is now California. The book, a reprint, is a beautiful introduction to the myths and legends of the Native Americans.
Fran Knight

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