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An Algonquian Year
ISBN: 9780618007059
Author: McCurdy, Michael
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: September 2000
Retail: $15.00    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Binding Type: Library Binding
Annotation: For the Northern Algonquians in pre colonial America, the moon's cycles set a pattern of rhythms that measured out the year. In graceful prose and stunning scratchboard illustrations, McCurdy brings to life the seasonal cycles of work, play, and survival. Illustrations.
Additional Information
Target Grade: 3-4
Grade level: 3-4
Physical Information: 0.25" H x 25.00" L x 9.75" W
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Reference, Geography, Early Elementary, Biographies
Grade level(s): 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring)
Naming the months according to Algonquian custom (Hard Times Moon, Snow Blinder Moon, Sap Moon), this book describes the yearly cycle for tribes in what would later become New England and southern Canada. The book focuses on food sources rather than cultural events or other yearly milestones, and the black-and-white scratchboard illustrations are stark and lovely. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2000 September #4)
McCurdy's finely wrought scratchboard illustrations are the backbone of this lovely picture book, which tracks the central activities of the Northeastern Algonquians month by month. He traces the cycle of the year for the confederation of tribes (from Micmac to Abenaki) that constitute the Algonquian people, from January's "Hard Times Moon," when families hunker down in dome-shaped wigwams to survive the harsh weather; through March's "Sap Moon," when maple syrup is harvested; June's "Strawberry Moon," when old women and children "sit on the warm ground and pluck the delicate fruit with great care"; and November's "Beaver Moon," when traps set for the animals yield meat and warm clothing. The clean, elegant lines of McCurdy's informative prose echo the bold cross-hatching and linear detail of his artwork; he frames resonant black-and-white vignettes, united by a recurring lunar motif, with a brick red border. This handsome book offers a realistic glimpse of everyday life before the arrival of white settlers. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2000 December)
Gr 2-5-In his introduction, McCurdy clearly states that his purpose is to describe a "year as it would have been lived before the arrival of white settlers-[concentrating on] Algonquian tribes found in the northeast of what is now Canada and the United States." The information is consistent with other books on these peoples, presenting typical recurring activities and the ongoing struggle for survival. An excellent, full-page scratchboard illustration accompanies the description of each month. Unfortunately, the use of present tense throughout the narrative dilutes the historical focus and becomes confusing when phrases like "the game we now call lacrosse" or "what will someday be called New Brunswick" accompany descriptions of events and activities. Similarly, McCurdy's map of the tribes provides only subtle outlines of the current northeastern states, but the presence of contemporary geographic names in the text suggests that the pre-contact Algonquians used terms like "New England" and "Massachusetts." Despite its shortcomings, this is a beautiful book that would be best used in a classroom or with adult intervention.-Sean George, St. Charles Parish Library, Luling, LA MCGILL, Alice, col. In the Hollow of Your Hand: Slave Lullabies. illus. by Michael Cummings. unpaged. with CD. score. CIP. Houghton. 2000. Tr $18. ISBN 0-395-85755-4. LC 97-20269. PreS-Gr 5-This collection includes songs of hope as well as haunting refrains of people being sold. From the reassuring "Great Big Dog" to the nonsense of "Rock de Cradle, Joe," the 13 selections reflect some aspect of a life lived under slavery. The words to each lullaby (and the explanation of its origin) are accompanied by vibrant mixed-media collage illustrations. Music appears in the back of the book. Although the accompanying CD does not follow the text exactly, the clear tones and the soft melodies provided by guitar, fiddle, banjo, and percussion bring much listening pleasure. Sing these songs with younger children or explore them more deeply with an older crowd. Both will result in a rewarding experience.-Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.