Rainbow Crow Nagweyaabi-aandeg
by David Bouchard
illustrated by David Jean
Red Deer Press, 2012
$24.95, 25 pp, ages 8 – 16
This Ojibwe legend of courage and sacrifice is set on Turtle Island before two-leggeds walked on Mother Earth. It opens with an introduction to the storyteller’s protocol to sit on or close to Mother Earth, and to be open to hear her story. We are also reminded that we are all related.
In the legend, all the creatures of earth come together in a Great Council because the winter is harsh and they do not think they will survive it. They decide to send a messenger to the Creator. Rainbow Crow is chosen for her beautiful, colourful feathers and her song which is as impressive as her beauty. Rainbow Crow receives the gift of fire from the Creator to help the creatures withstand the cold, harsh winter. On Rainbow Crow’s return, she flies too close to Grandfather Sun and is burnt—her feathers are charred to black and her voice is destroyed by her screaming. While she succeeds in seeking help from the Creator, she is forever changed for her bravery. Crow’s beauty is gone but the story of her courage and sacrifice were shared around that first council fire, and has become legend.
The accompanying CD and the Ojibwe translation of the text add to the richness of this publication. The illustrations are breathtaking—they were painted on traditional drums and then photographed to fill the pages of the book.
Classroom Connections: Add this book to your library, or use it to explore Native storytelling, legends, the importance of informed decision making, Native art and music, and when reinforcing visualizing or asking questions.
Review by Amanda Forbes.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s 2013 May/June Issue.