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Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn


Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn Cover

ISBN13: 9781937786113
ISBN10: 1937786110
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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

kas, October 26, 2013 (view all comments by kas)
***Unusual Artifact***

Well, this thing sure is an interesting artifact. I was intrigued by the description of the book, so I entered a GoodReads Giveaway for a copy and was lucky enough to win.

This is structured as a children's book -- short, straightforward text with each 2-page layout dominated by stimulating imagery with comparatively less verbal content. It is not a very detailed story, and there's nothing I would call truly original about its actual content according to my own perspective and experience with related history and adult historical fiction.

However, the story is not an oversimplified or facile one. The reader gets a historically informed fictional account from an underrepresented perspective. And, this perspective speaks directly about big picture issues -- how events were shaped and interpreted by the narrator and his community. These interpretations, implicitly if not explicitly, are clearly depicted as being rooted in particular culture and history.

Make what you will of that. It's not like most books, I don't think, and nothing like my typical reading.
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Sheila Deeth, August 21, 2013 (view all comments by Sheila Deeth)
I used to play cowboys and Indians with my brothers when I was a kid. I always pretended to be Indian because they wore brighter colors. Of course, since I was a girl, the Indians always lost. But it’s pleasing now, as an adult, to find a children’s book that relates the true story of a real and famous battle, from the viewpoint of a real Indian narrator. Who knew? They did indeed wear brighter colors, and they didn’t always lose.

Paul Goble’s beautiful book offers enticing images, drawn in an intriguingly linear style and full of complex details. The text combines a fictional first-person account with historical interludes to create a simple and complete retelling of Custer’s Last Battle. Together, the art and writing form a book designed to be read to children age six and up. The pictures will hold their interest for years to come, at least until they’re old enough to read the story themselves, making this the sort of book that becomes a favorite treasure through the years.

The book begins with a short message from 98-year-old Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather was a scout in the battle. The author gives his own introduction on the next page, describing the research and motivation behind his book, and proving it truly is well-founded and well-researched. After a brief reminder of the background to the events--useful for adult readers like myself who may not be too familiar with what really happened or why--the fictional Red Hawk begins his tale.

“I am Oglala,” he says. “I was fifteen winters old when Long Hair attacked our camp… I was in that fight.” And so, straight away, young listeners are pulled into a world of tipis arrayed in circles, children playing, and horses grazing on the hills.

Comments in italics provide background to a story told with a convincing voice and vivid detail. The language is simple. The thoughts are authentic. And the wise child will listen and learn while being entertained. A story that invites us to see our past and present through more than one eye, to recognize depth in our sharing of the land, and to value family and home, loyalty and love, this tale treats friend and enemy with equal respect, paying homage to all who made North America their own.

A valuable addition to any child’s library, or adult collection of books to read with children, this book combines wise introspection with honest research and turns an already exciting tale into a lesson for all.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher with a request for my honest review.
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Product Details

Goble, Paul
Wisdom Tales
Children s-General
Children s-Historical Fiction-Military and War
Publication Date:

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Children's » Nonfiction » Native America
History and Social Science » World History » General

Custer's Last Battle: Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn New Hardcover
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