C.J. Taylor,
How We Saw the World:
Nine Native stories of the way things began

(Tundra, 1993)

How We Saw the World: Nine Native stories of the way things began is a large hardback that is ideal for reading aloud and discussing the stories. These are stories to keep children thoroughly involved and positively entertained.

The titles of these stories are pretty much self-explanatory: "The Birth of Niagara Falls" (Algonquin), "Why Butterflies Cannot Sing" (Tohono O'odhan), "How Eagle Man Created the Islands of the Pacific Coast" (Bella Coola), "How Snowmaker was Taught a Lesson" (Micmac), "How Horses Came Into the World" (Blackfoot), "Why the Dog is Our Best Friend" (Oneida), "The First Tornado" (Kiowa), "Why Rabbits & Owls Look the Way They Do" (Mohawk) and "How the World Will End" (Cheyenne).

Usually one story stands out from the rest, but in this book, I cannot pick a favorite. I especially loved "How the World Will End" and "Why Rabbits & Owls Look the Way They Do," but there is not any story that I did not love. They are all magnificent pieces of entertainment and are sure to appeal to children of all ages. Adults will enjoy these stories just as much as the children do.

The final page tells about the tribes and provides tidbits from their history and culture, in addition to the basics of where they are located and their lifestyles.

C.J. Taylor's artwork is breathtaking. The oil paintings are certain to mesmerize almost any child. Bright colors and extensive use of space combine with intricate details to provide hours of viewing pleasure and plenty of topics for discussion. Her artwork is created for, and totally supports, the scenes in the story being told.

Taylor, a Mohawk, is an artist and children's author who works to bring native culture and history to the children's literature genre. She travels extensively through North America, has organized several native art exhibitions and has artwork in many private collections. Amazingly, she is a self-taught artist.

How We Saw the World is another magnificent book from one of the best authors in children's literature. This is the type of high-quality book that is made to last and, with proper handling, will become a family heirloom to be passed to the next generation. It is a masterpiece!

book review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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