Synopses & Reviews
Weaving, fishing, and storytelling are all part of this spirited book that celebrates Native American traditions as it teaches young children to count from one to ten. The book's whimsical illustrations, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, glow with brilliant color and are filled with fascinating detail. Each number introduces a facet of traditional Native American culture, such as Pueblo corn dances or Navajo weaving, and the simple, rhyming text is enhanced by a brief afterword on Native American customs. Ideal for storytime or bedtime, this is a book sure to leave children counting rabbits instead of sheep.
--FIVE OWLS, March/April 1991
Hurray! At long last primary school educators and lovers of children's literature have an accurate American Indian book written for primary children. The author and illustrator have made Ten Little Rabbits into ten little Indian characters, and this book is a valuable replacement for the old, stereotypical ten little Indians rhyme. The rabbits are not playing Indian but are Indian people with the gentleness, affection, and skills of the ancient ones. In many authentic American Indian stories, animals are able to humanize and are interchangeable with people. Often the main chararcter takes rabbit characteristics while remaining truly Indian and having human-style experiences.
The book begins with one lonely traveler on a travois, followed by two graceful Tewa corn dancers on the next page, and, on the page following, three smoke signalers against a vast expanse of plains. Then, with a bit of humor, four clever trackers look for clues, their tiny size accentuated in comparison with the bear track they find. Five storytellers take readers into the chill of winter as they huddle around the campfire trying to keep warm. Clearly these are not the same rabbits from page to page--each page portrays a different tribe. Additional information about each tribe and the activities portrayed in the pictures is included in the back of the book.
Worries about storms and scenes of childish play intertwine with rich cultural facts. These busy little rabbits depict a well-rounded lifestyle of very human activities. The Kwakiutl animal masks and cedar bark robes and brightly colored Navajo rugs make this book a delightful visual treat. The story's ending, as sleepy little rabbits fall asleep in their traditional Dakota homes, exudes warmth and comfort.
Writer Virginia Grossman and artist Sylvia Long, a Dakota Indian, have created this book with honestly and careful attention to authenticity and beauty, and the result is a high-quality combination of rhyme, culture, and artistic expression that will please children.
--BOOKLIST, April 1991
Grossman interprets the cultures of various American Indian tribes through a counting book in which the characters are rabbits dressed as Indians. Though this may sound a bit precious, it's not: the gravity of the characters' demeanor precludes any silliness here. Earth tones predominate in ink-and-watercolor artwork that stretches across wide, double-page spreads. The illustrations are interpreted in brief rhymed couplets (one line per spread): "One lonely traveler riding on the plain./ Two graceful dancers asking for some rain." A key to the pictures, found at the end of the book, explains how each relates to the customs or artifacts of a particular tribe. Bits about the tribes may be helpful, but the information given is minimal. Preschool and kindergarten teachers looking for picture books that cut across the curriculum will find this a good way to combine a unit on native Americans with counting practice.
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Best Books of 1991, November 1991
With striking earth tones, this ingenious counting book blends reality and fantasy in its portrayal of a group of Native Americans--bunnies all--engaged in characteristic activities.
--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, June 1991
Not a book about numbers, but a quiet, respectful survey of some Native American customs organized through the structure of a counting rhyme, populated by rabbits dressed in traditional garb, from "one lonely traveler riding on the plain" to "ten sleepy weavers knowing day is done." Notes at the back identify each tribe represented (Plains, Pueblo, Great Lakes, Northwestern, and Southwestern peoples), and provide information about the pictures. The rabbits have an earnest charm reminiscent of Marjorie Flack's industrious family
Informative pictures invite group sharing, while the gentle mood suits bedtime. School Library Journal
Best Book of the Year RA Children's Book Award, Parents
"Hurray! At long last primary school educators and lovers of children's literature have an accurate Native American book written for primary children".--The Five Owls. An IRA Children's Book Award winner. Parents' "Best Book of the Year". American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists". Full-color illustrations.
About the Author
Virginia Grossman is a resident of Washington State. Ten Little Rabbits is her first children's book.