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A Man Called Raven [Hardcover]

Richard Van Camp
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 11 1997

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When Chris and Toby Greyeyes find a raven in the garage, they try to trap it and hurt it with hockey sticks. To them, ravens are just a nuisance because they spread garbage all over the street. Or so they think—until a mysterious man who smells like pine needles enters their lives and teaches them his story of the raven.
In this intriguing book, George Littlechild, internationally acclaimed artist and author of the Jane Addams Awardwinning book This Land Is My Land, returns to collaborate with Richard Van Camp, an exciting voice in Native American literature.
Set in the Northwest Territories of Canada, Van Camp's contemporary story draws from the animal legends and folklore told to him by his Dogrib elders. Littlechild's bold use of color and perspective captures the sense of mystery and magic surrounding the strange raven man who teaches the boys the meaning of respect for nature.
Blending past with present, the magical with the real, A Man Called Raven is both a tribute to the wisdom of the raven and a positive reminder that we can all learn from nature.


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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3. Pacific Northwest folklore is woven into a contemporary moral tale in this unusual title. Two brothers injure a raven. When it escapes, an impressively huge and angry man appears. He makes the boys take him to their home, where he tells them about a man who liked to hurt ravens and paid for it. In his tale, an injured bird starts to follow him everywhere, until finally the man himself turns into a raven. When he returns to his village to apologize to the people who are mourning his death, he can only call like a raven. Then he begins watching over his people and helping them. The boys understand the message. The man departs, "leaving behind him the thunder of wings." The final illustration makes it clear that the storyteller is himself that raven man of the tale. The first transition from the troublesome boys to the raven man's account is a bit awkward, and the instant reformation of the boys after hearing it is not particularly convincing. Overall, though, the weaving of one story within another works fairly well. The bold and dramatic illustrations lend real power to the story. Using simple shapes and vivid colors, the artist clearly conveys action and emotion. The style successfully captures both the magical element of the raven and the strong presence of the storyteller. The intriguing story and powerful artwork will attract young readers.?Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Van Camp's tale teaches respect for life, both human and animal. Toby and Chris are brothers--one light-skinned, with brown hair and blue eyes, the other with dark skin, brown eyes, and black hair--who are caught tormenting a raven. The man who confronts Toby and Chris is an imposing soul and tells them the story of a man who once also abused a raven. That raven started to follow the man, who is gradually transformed into a raven. He flies back to spy upon his old neighbors and discovers that the whole village has turned out for his funeral, demonstrating respect for his life even though he was wicked and without a kind word for anyone. The man/raven is transformed again, this time into a raven who looks out for his people in times of trouble. When the situation warrants it, he can become a man to remind others of the lessons he's learned. The storyteller takes his leave of the boys, in a flurry of feathers. The intentionally didactic text loses power in the juxtaposition of the contemporary framework and the storyteller's timeless words. If the ending is obvious, it will still have children considering the consequences of cruelty, and Littlechild's bold, stylized artwork will not only draw them in, but have them reaching for paints and paper. (Picture book. 6-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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The two boys danced around madly, trying to corner the raven. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical Shivers July 6 2000
By A Customer
Format:Library Binding
This book is another in my "read-aloud classic" list. It has beautiful illustrations which enhance the mystery of the story nicely. It brings Native American traditions into a modern setting very effectively. And it does a nice job of never coming right out and saying the man is the raven, but leaves you with the feeling of wind from a Raven's wings across the back of your neck -- it gave me shivers! Take care of animals, take care of traditions, and know who you are, are this book's implied morals. A very neat book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical Shivers July 5 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
This book is another in my "read-aloud classic" list. It has beautiful illustrations which enhance the mystery of the story nicely. It brings Native American traditions into a modern setting very effectively. And it does a nice job of never coming right out and saying the man is the raven, but leaves you with the feeling of wind from a Raven's wings across the back of your neck -- it gave me shivers! Take care of animals, take care of traditions, and know who you are, are this book's implied morals. A very neat book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Message For All Cultures Dec 27 2010
By Patricia Leppla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chris and Toby are hitting a raven with their hockey sticks. The raven manges to get away from the two boys. When they turn around n angry man is standing before them asking them why they were hurting the Raven. The angry man has the boys lead them to their parents. After speaking with their mother, the angry man tells the boys a story about man who liked to hurt ravens. This man was old and mean, who didn't have any friends, and took joy in hurting ravens with blunt arrows. One rave, after he hurt it, began to follow the man wherever he went. To get away from the raven, he slept and began to live in the tree tops. One day he slipped and fell but before he could hit the ground he turned into a raven and started to fly. Even though he turned into a raven, he was still mean. In an attempt to spy on all those in the village he found that they were holding a funeral for him and that everyone turned up, not to laugh but to pay their respects to him - everyone loved him, to his surprise. From then on man who turned into a raven watched over his people. He even helped his people once from freezing in a snowstorms. After the angry man told them this story the boys understood and saw him leave, as a Raven.

The characters of this picture book are developed through their actions - the boys learn a lesson, as well as the old mean man who changed into a Raven. I loved the theme of this book: treat everyone and everything with respect, including animals. I was actually surprised at the ending of this picture book, the man ended up being the Raven. I found myself liking the author's writing style as well as the beautiful illustrations.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story, beautiful pictures March 10 2014
By cheryllynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding|Verified Purchase
This is a timeless book for all ages. Wonderfully done, I enjoyed it immensely. A morality tale that will never grow old.
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