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Little Firefly: An Algonquian Legend by…

Little Firefly: An Algonquian Legend

by Terri Cohlene

Other authors: Charles Reasoner (Illustrator)

Series: Native American Legends (c1990)

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Little Firefly's story reminds me of Cinderella. A young Indian girl who is basically the maid (and bud of jokes) by her older sister is picked to be the bride of "The Invisible One." Great story for young kids, like an Indian Cinderella which is totally awesome! ( )
  hart0521 | Apr 15, 2015 |
Little Firefly is forced to do all the work in her wigwam, in this retelling of an Algonquian tale, as her father is often away hunting, and her two older sisters - who cruelly nickname her "Little Burnt One" - refuse to do any cooking or cleaning. Scarred as a result of her time in front of the fire, Little Firefly has no hopes (unlike her sisters) of winning the great warrior, The Invisible One - who lives, together with his sister, across the lake from their village - as a husband. But when she rows across to offer herself as a servant, having grown tired of her mistreatment at home, and is able to see The Invisible One, with his rainbow bowstring, and his hunting strap made from the Milky Way, it turns out she is the one destined to be his wife...

This Algonquian variant of the widespread "Cinderella" story (the 'persecuted heroine' tale type, in the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification system), had also been retold by Rafe Martin as The Rough-Face Girl, and by Robert D. San Souci as Sootface. I cannot compare it to these other retellings, as I have not (yet!) read them, but I can say that this version, Little Firefly irritated me greatly! The fourth entry in the Native American Legends series that I have read by Terri Cohlene, it is the first to which I have given a one-star rating, although my estimation of the series, as a whole, has declined with each book read (I gave three stars to the first one I read, Clamshell Boy: A Makah Legend, and two stars each to Turquoise Boy: A Navajo Legend and Dancing Drum: A Cherokee Legend).

It's not simply that, as with her previous titles, Cohlene neglected to provide any source material for this story, although that certainly irritates me, and - in conjunction with other critiques of some of the books in this series - makes me wonder about issues of authenticity. This title also contained some grossly misleading information, in the factual afterword about the Algonquian people. Bad enough that all of the Iroquois nations were included in a confusing way in Cohlene's map of the Algonquian tribes (Um... hello? Linguistically the Iroquois nations are related to the Cherokee, who constitute the southern branch of the Iroquoian language family; historically, they were enemies of the Algonquian peoples), but Cohlene also includes a reference to the Battle of Wounded Knee in her timeline!

No, Terri Cohlene, the horrific massacre that occurred at Wounded Knee was not a 'battle,' and any slack I was going to cut you, because the aforementioned map may not have been deliberately confusing (there is a subtle distinction made between the Algonquian and Iroquoian names, one being in bold, and slightly larger - a distinction that will probably fly over most young readers' heads), went right out the door when I saw that. Just... no. No, no, no! No, this book is NOT recommended. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 25, 2013 |
This is an Algonquian Cinderella story about a girl made ugly by her work at the fires who is the only one who can see the invisible hunter. She is made beautiful for him and they are married. ( )
  t1bclasslibrary | Nov 5, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terri Cohleneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reasoner, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081672363X, Paperback)

Reminiscent of the Cinderella story, this is the enchanting tale of a shy maiden who wins the heart of a great warrior despite her cruel and mocking older sisters.

The Legends of the World opens readers' minds to the diverse cultures of Native America, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the Americas through enchanting tales passed down through countless generations. Each book in the series features geographical, historical, and cultural information. Illustrated in full color.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A retelling of the Algonquian Indian legend of how a young girl, badly mistreated by her sisters, becomes the bride of the great hunter known as the Invisible One. Includes information on the history and customs of the Algonquian Indians.

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