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Book Title: Brave as a Mountain Lion|
The author of the book: Ann Herbert Scott
Date of issue: February 15th 1996
ISBN 13: 9780395667606
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 435 KB
Edition: Clarion Books
Read full description of the books Brave as a Mountain Lion:Brave as a Mountain Lion tells the story of Spider, a modern Shoshone boy, faced with a typical problem; he is petrified about participating in his school’s spelling bee. He seeks out advice from his father (be brave as a mountain lion), his grandmother (be clever as a coyote), and his older brother (be silent as a spider). When he sees a little spider spinning its web, he is inspired to “listen to his spirit,” and he finds the courage to participate in the spelling bee. Even though he finishes second, he has newfound pride in himself for overcoming his fear.
This is one of the few picture books I have found that depicts a modern-day Native American boy. Set on a Shoshone reservation in northern Nevada, the illustrations do a good job of portraying the wintry, rural landscape, and the warm, inviting home of Spider’s family. When reading this book with a group of 5th graders, they noticed both how typical the kids were (Spider’s fear of getting up on stage, his brother’s love of basketball, and the little sister who falls asleep on Grandma’s lap), and how their lives were different (they eat venison for dinner, Grandma is beading a hatband for Dad’s birthday, and they live in a rural location). It prompted a good discussion about the Shoshone today, especially since the book specifically mentions Spider looking at a mural of his ancestors painted in the school gym.
I looked for comments on this book from members of the Shoshone tribe, or other Native Americans, but could not find anything. One thing I was worried about was the way Spider finds courage by learning to “listen to his spirit.” His transformation seems like it could border the “mystical Indian” stereotype, but it could also represent an authentic, and culturally-specific way of facing a difficult situation. Unfortunately, without a native voice, I do not know the better interpretation. The question is complicated by the fact that neither the author or illustrator are Shoshone themselves, but rather the author has spent a lot of time at the Shoshone reservation, and the illustrator visited while before completing the art.
Overall, the story is only mediocre, but I do think it is valuable as an example of contemporary Native American children.
Read information about the authorAnn Herbert Scott describes herself as "a transplanted Easterner who has come to love the wide skies and far mountain ranges of the West." She is the author of SAM, ON MOTHER'S LAP, and several other picture books. She lives Benicia, California.
Ann Herbert Scott was born in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, and grew up writing. Her first children's book, co-authored with a friend and never published, was written at the age of 13. Many honors and children's books followed with a hiatus to marry and raise a family. Today, Scott is one of America's foremost authors of children's literature. She deftly uses her B.A. in English (University of Pennsylvania) and M.A. in Social Ethics (Yale University) to bring both credibility and wonder to her work. Many of her books deal with western, ethnic, and rural themes.
Scott moved to Reno in 1961, when she married William Taussig Scott (1916-1999), a physics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her work as an "enumerator" in the agricultural census of 1964 eventually led to her writing a history of the U. S. census, with the cooperation of the Bureau of the Census. Her novel Sam was an American Library Association Notable Book for 1967. Another of her books, On Mother's Lap, was read by Captain Kangaroo on his television program as part of the national Reading is Fundamental literacy initiative. In 1996, the paperback edition of Cowboy Country was awarded the Parents' Choice Silver Honor. Scott is active in the Northern Nevada arts community and is the co-founder of the Annual Art of the Children's Book Festival. She and her husband were co-founders of Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace, a non-profit public benefit corporation in Washoe County, Nevada.
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