Dance In A Buffalo Skull

Dance In A Buffalo Skull / Online Shop / Birchbark Books & Native Arts

Dance In A Buffalo Skull

Illustrated by S.D. Nelson
  • Hardcover
  • South Dakota State Historical Society Press (2007)
  • SKU: 9780977795529
Regular price $14.95
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Zitkala-A a recorded this Yankton Sioux story more than 100 years ago, but this tale of mice caught unaware is still satisfyingly scary. Out on the deep, dark prairie, a large group of mice is having a wild party inside an old buffalo skull. The small creatures, in festive paint and costume, are dancing, singing, and eating with abandon, and they have neglected to put anyone on security detail. Out of the dark emptiness stalks a wildcat that waits until the height of the music to suddenly appear, abruptly ending the festivities. This story was created to remind Yankton Sioux children to keep an eye out at all times, and it still does that. Zitkala-A a is a wonderful storyteller-even with some old-fashioned language, the narrative tension builds deliciously to the scene of the fleeing mice. Nelson's illustrations add to the tension between the creeping wildcat and the celebrating mice. Even the dark is a character here-children will almost need to squint through the shadows to see the animals at night. In the pictures of the party, by contrast, the glowing light and excited mice seem to vibrate with action. This tale would be perfect in a scary storytime, told with the lights down low. -Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

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