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The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie…

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

by Tomie DePaola

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,514763,669 (4.12)10



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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie DePaola is a traditional literature book. The characters are Little Gophen, Wise Sharman, Grandfather, Maiden. The theme of the book is strength to succeed. ( )
  Kimberly79 | Mar 31, 2019 |
Gifted author/illustrator Tomie dePaola retells a Native American story concerning the Indian paintbrush plant's name. The story is well-told, and the illustrations are beautiful. ( )
  thornton37814 | Feb 21, 2018 |
Awesome book!
Good for teaching folk tales.
  Lauralee96 | Oct 6, 2017 |
"The Legend of the Indian Painbrush" by Tomie dePaola is set in spring. The meadows and the hills in Texas and Wyoming are in full color. Waving their reds, oranges , and yellows of the Indian Painbrush. This tells how the beautiful plant gets its name . The old Indian tale is that many years ago when people traveled the plains of the county a young Indian boy had a dream/ vision . This dream told the boy that he would one day become a painter .He always wanted to capture the sunset but he never could.The boy one day fullfills his dreams of capturing the sunset.
This book is a nice book that brings to mind how beautiful our world is and with hard work we will be able to reach our dreams.
The two extensions I would do with this book would be to first have the students close their eyes as I read the book. Then I would have the students work as a group paring up writing down what they "saw" while listening to the books text. The second extension I would do Is after we read the book out loud as a class I would have the students get the art paper and either color pencils , crayons, or paint. The students would then be told to convey through picture what the story was about. This activity would help the student dig in to the literal words of the text.
  Amandaspangler | Jul 18, 2017 |
"The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush" by Tomie dePaola is a piece of Native American culture that tells the story of how the flower, the Indian Paintbrush, came into existence based on the folklore and stories of the Native American people. The story follows a young Native American boy, named Little Gopher, who has a talent of painting instead of the typical warrior skills that other young boys have. Through a Dream-Vision he is told that his purpose will be to paint the stories of his people.

Personal Reaction:
This book is the colorful book that introduces children to Native American culture and folklore. It also sends the message that not all people are destined to do the same thing. While the path may be different from others, we have the capability to do great things all the same. I can personally relate to this book because I am also part Native American and I like learning about Native American culture.

Extension Ideas:
1.) This book serves as a way to introduce Native American culture. Since we are Oklahoma, this may serve as a way to introduce children to local Native American tribes and find out more about their ancestors, possibly even determining if the children themselves have Native American ancestors.
2.) This book also serves as a way to learn more about local plant life. ( )
  BreannaDavid | Jul 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
In this adaptation of the legend of the Indian Paintbrush flower… The story follows Little Gopher, a Native boy (no tribe indicated)… [whose] paint colors appear dull and dark. One night he hears a voice that tells him to go where he watches the evening sun, and on the ground he will find what he needs. There he is surrounded by brushes filled with paint, each one a color of the sunset. The brushes take root and are known today as Indian Paintbrush flowers. The illustrations do not reflect Plains material culture.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tomie DePaolaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gabriel, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description

Little Gopher is upset in the beginning of the story because he is smaller then the other children and he can not keep up with their strength. When he grows a bit older, he goes to the hills alone to think about becoming a man. This is where the Dream-Vision occurs. The young Indian Maiden and the old grandfather in the clouds gave Little Gopher a rolled-up animal skin, a brush made of fine animal hairs, and pots of paints. They told him to paint pictures of deeds of warriors, visions of the shaman, and a picture pure as the colors in the evening sky. Little Gopher gathered flowers and berries to make his paints, and painted pictures of great hunts and great deeds. He struggled with finding the colors of the sunset. He often looked at the colors of the sky and did not give up on this task. One night he heard voices in the sky telling him to go to the hillside where he sees the sun set and he will find what he needs. The next evening, in this place Little Gopher found brushes filled with paint the colors of the sunset on the ground all around him. Little Gopher finally painted a picture pure as the colors in the evening sky. He left his brushes on the ground and returned to the village. The next morning, the hillside was covered with plants of brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. The brushes had taken root and multiplied. Now every spring the ground is covered with these beautiful plants and Little Gopher is praised for being the person who brought the sunset to the earth.

The Native American culture is best described through its use of traditional literature. Much understanding of their ways and beliefs can be found through the study of their legends. Although stories of Native American warrior’s brutality, war, and fighting do exist, these people were mostly about peace with others and kindness toward our earth. “The Legend of the Indain Paintbrush” is a beautiful, well-written example of how the Native Americans believe the people, earth, and sky are all connected. The beginning of the story also reflects the true value that each tribe places upon each individual person in that tribe. dePaola writes, “The wise shaman of the tribe understood that Little Gopher had a gift that was special.” The Native Americans believe that each person, animal, plant, etc. has a purpose and can be used to benefit the well-being of others.

This story along with other De Paola stories would be excellent for a genre study in the classroom. It is easy to pick out elements of a legend and it would be fun to see kids compare these legends.
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Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to the earth.

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