Native American Folklore

I’ve been sharing folklore with the 2nd grade classes, and I’ve been trying to tell stories from all over the world. Joseph Bruchac is a Natuve American author who writes great fiction as well as some fun picture books of native folklore.

Bear has been bragging to the whole forest that he can do anything, so Brown Squirrel asks if he can tell the sun not to rise the next day. Bear is sure he can do it-he can do anything! Unfortunately, the sun rises and Brown Squirrel starts teasing Bear. Bear takes offense and smacks his great paw down on Brown Squirrel. Brown Squirrel finagles his way out but Bear manages to claw down his back, leaving the stripes. Now he is not Bfown Squirrel, he is Chipmunk.

This story is reminiscent of The Tortoise and the Hare. While Turtle is hibernating, Beaver moves in and dams the pond. When spring arrives Turtle sees that her pond has greatly changed thanks to the Beaver’s new dam. She offers to share but the Beaver refuses and it’s decided that a race will determine who gets to stay. No one ever beats the turtle in these stories, but she wins using her brain. Even after winning she again offers to share, but Beaver leaves in disgrace. He has learned his lesson though and finds a new pond to share with a different turtle.
I love variations of old favorites. And the kids loved the way the animals talked (I do voices.) I wonder what other picture books there are by him?


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