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Dancing Drum: A Cherokee Legend by Terri…

Dancing Drum: A Cherokee Legend

by Terri Cohlene

Other authors: Charles Reasoner (Illustrator)

Series: Native American Legends

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240370,236 (2.75)None



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The sun is burning up the land and dancing drum is turned into a snake to kill the sun. He bite the daughter instead of Grandmother Sun. Facing many challenges of not obeying floods, drought they have to go into different lands and get that particular entity to shine or to flourish or stop. After they figured out away to make the land
and world happy she smiled down on them as they danced and sang.
Personal Reaction:
I thought the sun would cause a great drought. Next, I thought the rain would flood the people and cause a wash out of people be brought to their ruin. The story ends in a different manner than I expected.
Extension Ideas:
1. Global warming
2. Farming and cultivating
  LenaReece | Oct 26, 2013 |
Grandmother Sun becomes angry with the People of the Mountain in this Cherokee folktale, believing that they prefer her brother, the Moon. The unrelenting heat and light that she directs at the earth, in consequence, cause such suffering amongst the People, that a young boy named Dancing Drum sets out for the Land of the Sky People, determined to put an end to it. His efforts backfire, however, when his attack (in snake form) inadvertently targets the Sun's daughter, rather than the Sun herself. Now, with the Sun in mourning for her slain daughter, and refusing to leave her dwelling, the People suffer from the cold. Can Dancing Drum set things right, by retrieving the Sun's daughter from the Land of the Spirits...?

I had mixed feelings about this folkloric adaptation - the second title by Terri Cohlene, following upon Clamshell Boy: A Makah Legend, that I have read - and am starting to feel a little dubious about the series, Native American Legends, in general. As with the other books in the series, the tale itself is followed by a factual introduction to the people from which it comes (the Cherokee, in this case). I was happy to see that, unlike Clamshell Boy, this one included a section on the people of today, rather than consigning them entirely to history (as is so commonly done with Native Americans, in children's books).

Unfortunately, Cohlene provided no source material for her story, and after reading a scathing review of another entry in the series (Sunflower's Promise: A Zuni Legend, admittedly by a different author) which appears to have factually incorrect information in the afterword, and a distorted telling of the tale itself, I'd really like to know where Cohlene got her version of this tale. Also, I was rather irritated at the continued use of the word 'shaman' in the story, to describe the Cherokee elder who advises Dancing Drum, as I know it is a problematic term, in this context, and offensive to many Native Americans. I do intend to read the rest of Cohlene's folkloric retellings (she penned six altogether), but my skepticism as to their authenticity is growing with each title. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 25, 2013 |
SUMMARY: Grandmother Sun was jealous that The People danced and sang songs to her brother, The Moon. She sent scorching heat and it ruined The People's crops. Dancing Drum turned into a snake and was told to bite Grandmother Sun's ankle, but accidentally bit her daughter and she died. She was sad and so the people were cold and in darkness. The People tried to cheer her up by dancing and singing, but it didn't work. So, Dancing Drum played the drum that his grandfather gave him. She heard the music and it cheered her up. Grandmother Sun came out of her house once again to smile down on her Children of the Mountain.
PERSONAL REACTION: I think it's an interesting story and I really enjoyed reading it.
EXTENSION IDEAS: I think making Indian tacos would be a yummy activity.
  Tinker84 | Sep 10, 2012 |
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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 0816723621, Paperback)

This enchanting Cherokee legend comes alive through the author's vivid adaptation and striking illustrations. Children will be spellbound as they read about the distinctive lifestyle and beliefs of the Cherokee people. Full color.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:07 -0400)

Retells the Cherokee legend in which Dancing Drum tries to make Grandmother Sun smile on the People again. Also describes the history, culture, and fate of the Cherokee Indians.

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