Hornbook Guide to Children (01/01/1993):
Shape-changing Raven steals the sun from the Sky Chief to light the dark world in this handsome retelling. Drawn in the style of totem art, Raven, as a cut-out figure of red, green, blue, and black, is a striking presence appearing against softly painted gouache landscapes of watery blues and greens. McDermott's economical story line is well shaped and laid out in short lines of text against the fully illustrated, luminous pages. (Copyright 1993 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)
Publishers Weekly (03/22/1993):
McDermott's crisply elegant version of a traditional Native American tale resounds with lyrical prose and the stylization of myth. The illustrations, in striking contrasts, echo the central theme of the birth of the sun by visually leading readers from darkness into light--McDermott adroitly juxtaposes a blurred backdrop of mist-drenched landscape against the sharp, bright colors of Raven himself and the glowing interior of the Sky Chief's domicile. Raven's sadness at seeing men and women living "in the dark and cold," without the warmth of the sun leads him to search out light. The trickster sets his plan in motion by being reborn as son to the Sky Chief's daughter. The doting grandfather, wanting the boy to be happy, commands that Raven-child be given an effulgent ball that he discovers in a shimmering box. With this orb--the sun--firmly in his grasp, the cunning creature changes back into a bird and soars off; whereupon "Raven threw the sun high in the sky, and it stayed there." With this masterfully executed reworking, McDermott adds to the folktale bookshelf a work in the grand tradition. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal (05/01/1993):
Gr 1 Up-- All the world is in darkness at the beginning of this traditional tale from the Indian cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Raven feels sorry for the people living in the gloomy cold, so he flies to the house of the Sky Chief in search of light and warmth. To get inside, Raven pulls a shape-shifting trick that allows him to be born to the god's daughter. As a spoiled and comic infant, Raven demands and gets the shiny ball that the gods have hidden away. The art and text capture the spirit of the Native American trickster hero; benevolent, clever, magical, unscrupulous, and ultimately triumphant, Raven acts out human virtues and foibles on a cosmic scale. The mixed-media illustrations contrast the foggy cold of the Northwest Coast with the cozy interior of a native plank house. Traditional dress, furnishings, and house construction are clearly depicted, as are the tender and indulgent emotions of the Sky Chief and his family. As Raven shape-shifts through the story, visual and verbal clues let children see that his essential nature remains intact. The book invites comparisons with other trickster heroes like Africa's Anansi and the Native American Coyote, as well as with stories of fire bringers like Prometheus. The physical environment, oral literature, and traditional life of the Pacific Coast Indians come alive in this amusing and well-conceived picture book. --Carolyn Polese, Gateway Community School, Arcata, CA
/*STARRED REVIEW*/ Ages 5-9. Turning to the Pacific Northwest for inspiration, the Caldecott Medal-winning artist uses native American motifs for this traditional tale told by the tribes of the area. This simple, rhythmic version of the story reads well, particularly for a young audience. Sad to see the earth's people always in darkness, Raven flies to the Sky Chief's house, where the sky people keep the sun hidden all the time. Reborn as the Sky Chief's grandson, Raven steals the sun and flings it into the sky, where it sheds light on the earth's people. In the handsome double-page spreads, Raven, whether he appears as a bird or child, is always marked with a distinctive design of clear-cut red, green, and blue on black, sharply contrasting with the softer hues and forms of the backgrounds and the other characters. In this way, Raven is always recognizable, even when he shifts his shape to human form. A brief note introduces Raven, a trickster who "balances his heroism and trickery to bring a blessing to the people." Read this picture book aloud for the full effect of its simple, rhythmic text and striking artwork. ((Reviewed Mar. 1, 1993))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1993, American Library Association.)
Raven, a Pacific Coast Indian trickster, sets out to find the sun.
Raven, the Native American trickster, feels sorry for those who must live in darkness, and he decides to help. He flies over mountains, valleys, and lakes and discovers that light is being kept hidden inside the house of the Sky Chief. Using his cleverness, Raven finds a way to bring light to the world. The physical environment, oral literature, and traditional life of the Pacific Coast Indians come alive in this amusing and well-conceived picture book. --"School Library Journal"
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/1994 pg. 15 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Booklist 06/01/1996 pg. 1727 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 96 01/01/1996 pg. 117 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Booklist 03/01/1993 pg. 1227 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
School Library Journal 05/01/1993 pg. 100 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
ALA Notable Children's Books 01/01/1994 pg. 1352 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2001 pg. 116 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Hornbook Guide to Children 01/01/1993 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly 03/22/1993 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2006 pg. 142 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2010 pg. 190 (EAN 9780152656614, Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly 08/13/2001 pg. 314 (EAN 9780152024499, Paperback)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2010 pg. 190 (EAN 9780152024499, Paperback)
Contributor Bio: McDermott, Gerald
Caldecott Medalist Gerald McDermott's illustrated books and animated films have brought him international recognition. He is highly regarded for his culturally diverse works inspired by traditional African and Japanese folktales, hero tales of the Pueblos, and the archetypal mythology of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It was his fascination with the imagery of African folklore that led him to the story of "Anansi the Spider". McDermott was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Cass Technical High School, where he was awarded a National Scholastic Scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Once in New York, he began to produce and direct a series of animated films on mythology in consultation with renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell. These films became the basis for McDermott's first picture books. Among his many honors and awards are the Caldecott Medal for "Arrow to the Sun", a Pueblo myth, and Caldecott honors for "Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti" and "Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest". In addition, McDermott is Primary Education Program Director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.