Jingle Dancer Hardcover – Mar 17 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Smith, a mixed-blood member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, convincingly juxtaposes cherished Native American tradition and contemporary lifestyle in this smooth debut. Watching a videotape of Grandma Wolfe performing a jingle dance, Jenna is determined to dance at an upcoming powwow. But she lacks the cone-shaped, tin jingles that are sewn on to dancers' dresses as part of the regalia. The girl walks down a suburban sidewalk lined with modern houses as she sets out to visit her great-aunt, a neighbor, a cousin and Grandma Wolfe, all of whom lend her jingles for her dress. Smith's language consciously evokes legend. For example, "As Sun caught a glimpse of the Moon" indicates the time of day; and Jenna is careful to borrow only a limited number of jingles, "not wanting to take so many that [another's] dress would lose its voice." Van Wright and Hu's (Jewels) lifelike renderings capture the genuine affection between Jenna and these caring older women. Their easy integration of Native and standard furnishings and clothing gracefully complement Smith's heartening portrait of a harmonious meshing of old and new. Ages 4-10. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Without enough tin jingles to make her dress sing, how can Jenna be a jingle dancer just like Grandma Wolfe at the next powwow? She borrows one row from Great-aunt Sis, whose aching legs keep her from dancing; another from Mrs. Scott, who sells fry bread; one from Cousin Elizabeth, whose work keeps her away from the festivities; and a fourth row from Grandma, who helps Jenna sew the jingles to her dress, assemble her regalia, and practice her bounce-steps. When the big day arrives, the girl feels proud to represent these four women and carry on their tradition. Watercolor paintings in bright, warm tones fill each page. In scenes where she is dancing, backgrounds of blurred figures effectively represent both the large audience and the many generations whose tradition the gathering honors. Seeing Jenna as both a modern girl in the suburban homes of her intertribal community and as one of many traditionally costumed participants at the powwow will give some readers a new view of a contemporary Native American way of life. An author's note and glossary tell more about the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Ojibway origins of jingle dancing, and the significance of the number four in Native American tradition. This picture book will not only satisfy a need for materials on Native American customs, but will also be a welcome addition to stories about traditions passed down by the women of a culture.
Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Beautiful illustrations by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu!
In order to makeher own dress "sing," however, Jenna will need four rows of jingles. There isn't enough time before the next powwow to mail- order the tin beads, but Jenna doesn't loose faith. A Muskogee Creek story about a bat that she is told by her Great Aunt Sis shows that no one is too little to make a difference.
<i>Rising sunlight reached through a window pane and flashed against... what was it, hanging in Aunt Sis's bedroom? Jingles on a dress too long quiet. "May I borrow enough jingles to make a row? Jenna asked, not wanting to take so many that Aunt Sis's dress would lose its voice. "You may," Aunt Sis answered, rubbing her calves. "My legs don't work so good anymore. Will you dance for me?" "I will," said Jenna with a kiss on Aunt Sis's cheek. Now Jenna's dress needed three more rows.<i/>
With the assistance of those in her community who cannot dance at the powwow, Jenna finds enough spare jingles to make her dress sing. With patience and practice, her hope is fulfilled.
In JINGLE DANCER, Cynthia Leitich Smith honors the tradition of jingle dancing, a ritual of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which has been celebrated for generations. Jenna is a delightful, ambitious child with great pride---a wonderful heroine for this picture book story. Not only does the author capture the feel of Native American heritage through the exposition and resolution of the story, but she adds to the mood by using the position of the sun in the sky to describe the passing of time within it. The author's note at the end of this picture book provides the fascinating background to this custom.Read more ›
Cynthia Leitich Smith's text is graceful and poetic. In Jenna, the author has created an engaging, absolutely believable young heroine who will win over the hearts of those who read her story. The paintings of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu bring Jenna and her family to life in gorgeous, warm-toned colors. Jingle Dancer is an outstanding choice for families and schools alike.
Most recent customer reviews
My grandaughter danced in her first powwow last year. She is only two and is in love with this book! Read morePublished 21 months ago by Pat Chopik
Cynthia Leitich Smith's, JINGLE DANCER, is a delightful book. Ms. Smith weaves a lovely story of the strong female ties in Native Ameicans matriarchal societies. Read morePublished on June 27 2000 by F. Hein
Cynthia Leitich Smith has penned a graceful, lyrical story in JINGLE DANCER. My son enjoys hearing about Jenna's quest to find jingles for her dress, and loves looking at the... Read morePublished on June 26 2000
I think the most powerful feature of this wonderful book is how it tells a story about a Native girl and her family's traditions but without resorting to age-old stereotypes. Read morePublished on April 25 2000
I have a baby girl who is part Blackfoot Indian through her father. I obtained a copy of Jingle Dancer and shared it with my daughter. I truly enjoyed the book. Read morePublished on April 11 2000 by Caroln L. Nydahl
As a Native woman, I'm always looking for books for the children in my family. There aren't hardly any set today and too many of them are boring. Read morePublished on March 28 2000
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