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Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest (1993)

by Gerald McDermott

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Raven, a Pacific Coast Indian trickster, sets out to find the sun.

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This is the tale of Raven - a PNW trickster who is a shape shifter with magical powers. In this story, Raven sets out to find the light that has been stolen from the sky. Raven suspects the Sky Chief has taken the light and hidden it. He changes himself into a pine needle so the daughter of the Sky Chief will drink him and bear a child. The child finds the box with the stolen light and convinces the daughter to open the box. Once the stolen ball of light rolls out the raven changes back to a bird and returns the light to the sky. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the Raven is drawn in a typical PNW style. ( )
  taolson | Jul 6, 2023 |
Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest is the tale of Raven who is living in a world without light. He decides to figure out where the Sky Chief keeps the light so he can bring it to the people. McDermott draws Raven using formline, a type of northwest coastal art. Living in the northwest it was wonderful to see a tale from our region being told. Gerald McDermott is known for his trickster tales which span a variety of cultures. Many of his books have received recognition over the years, including this one which received the Caldecott Honor in 1993.
  CH31 | Jul 28, 2022 |
Raven is part Pourqui tale and part trickster tale as it explains how light was brought to the world and it demonstrates the sly wisdom of the raven. The world exists in darkness and Raven is sad for the people. Desiring to change this, Raven goes in search of light and finds it at the Sky Chief's lodge. Being the trickster that he is, Raven see a girl drinking water from bowl then Raven changes himself into a pine needle and positions himself to be scooped up into the bowl where the girl then drinks the Raven/pine-needle. Later on, the girl becomes pregnant and gives birth to Raven. Sky Chief is enamored with Raven and gives Raven whatever he wants, including a shining box which ends up housing the sun. Raven steals the run, turns back into a bird and flies into the sky where he throws the sun for all to enjoy. This origin story shares many similarities with other origin stories such as Maui, Prometheus and even Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. The art is simple but poignant, with vivid colors reserved for Raven while everything else is in muted colors, representing the lack of light or enlightenment. Once Raven engages with the humans, their world takes on more color and once Raven brings the sun, the world is illuminated as well. ( )
  aprilasfour | Jul 12, 2022 |
This book is lovely in both words and illustrations. I am a fan of trickster tales and this one gives a wonderful introduction to Raven, one of the recurring tricksters from the Pacific Northwest. The illustrations are done in traditional PNW style, and the story tells the tale of how Raven brought light to the people by becoming a child and playing on his grandfather's indulgence.

A wonderful read for kids and adults of all ages but I would love to use it in an elementary school as an example of how stories can help us think about some of the big questions in life--why is the sun in the sky? Is it hard to say no to a toddler? Did Raven do the right thing? ( )
  stoehrkr | Jul 16, 2021 |
Through art and the magic of a legend another story is being told to young readers. Raven, A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest is a Caldecott Honor Award Book. The story begins as Raven was drawn to light by the edge of the water. He had an idea to trick the Sky Chief and his Daughter and take the light for people. Raven's dedication to his people, allowed his smart, tricky self to get what he wanted the most, light for his people. This classic legend connects children to local Native Legends about how things came to be. It also connects young children to the culture of America's First Nation People. Allowing young readers to learn more about their heritage through their myths and legends that have been passed down through People for generations. ( )
  kewilliams | Jul 13, 2020 |
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For Trevor, Erin, and Caitlin
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Raven came.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Raven, a Pacific Coast Indian trickster, sets out to find the sun.

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