Once again Goble has created a stunning picture book interpretation of an aspect of Plains Indian tradition. The story at the heart of this book is the death of an old woman and her subsequent spirit journey. . . . The artwork is Goble at his best.--School Library Journal, starred review. Full color.
Although LC calls this wonderful, consoling book fiction, it is more truly a prayer, a moving affirmation of death as a natural part of life - and a tribute to the wisdom and culture of the Plains Indians. Quoting several of their memorably poetic prayers, Goble notes that he has "embroidered upon a few of the thoughts which Plains Indian people express. Dying, they say, is like climbing up a long and difficult slope towards a high pine-covered ridge on the Great Plains." Responding to her mother's call, an old woman makes such a journey as her family grieves by her body; from the top, she views a surpassingly beautiful country, burgeoning with flowers and herds of animals, peopled with long-dead loved ones. Meanwhile, her living family follows their traditional ceremony for the dead, mourning yet recognizing that while "the body goes back to the earth. . .the spirit lives forever . . .the dead, and the living, and those who will one day be born are part of a great circle." The meticulously detailed illustrations, joyously celebrating the earth's poignant loveliness, are in a style similar to the one used in Her Seven Brothers (p. 362/C-52), with white outlines used to brighten the images. Goble explains that he has left faces blank to allow readers to imagine in their own way. This outstandingly beautiful book should indeed free imaginations to soar. (Kirkus Reviews)