Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker - a bookwrap

Unwrapping quotes about peace...

Unwrapping today's book...

Authored by Robbie Robertson
Illustrated by David Shannon
CD included by Robbie Robertson
Ages 4-8

Unwrapping some stunning illustrations...

Honer-winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with stunning oil paintings and vivid attention to detail.  The colour palette is perfect.

My review...

Robbie Robertson is widely known for his work in the icon group, The Band, and was born of Mohawk and Cayuga decent. He creates a story of Hiawatha, and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, to pass on as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. 

When Robbie was only nine years old his mother took him to hear an elder tell the story of Hiawatha which dated back from the 14th century.  

The elder has his audience spellbound as he pours forth how Hiawatha is strong and articulate and is chosen by the Peacemaker to spread unity and peace amongst the five warring Iroquois nations.  

Hiawatha's entire family has just been killed in a raid by the evil and dreaded Onondaga chief, Tadodaho. When the Peacemaker approaches Hiawatha he is in a state of shock and solitude and his one desire is to seek revenge on Tadodaho and his tribe.  The gentle and persuasive Peacemaker convinces him that there is a much better way.  He urges Hiawatha to be moved not by warring and destruction but by forgiveness and peace. He asks Hiawatha to take that peace that he can find deep down in his heart to the other tribes lest they all destroy each other in their violent acts of terror.  

The pair travel together in the Peacemaker's stone canoe to the Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, and Onondaga tribes.  It is not an easy task to convince these strong, brave but unforgiving warriors to cast aside their weapons, put away their bitterness towards each other, and join together as one.  Finally, overcoming many barriers and difficulties, they vanquish resistance and lay down the foundation of the1722 Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.  

The power of the spirit and unconditional love is so strongly presented that even the wicked, disfigured and evil Tadodaho is touched and transformed.  He is depicted at first scaly and broken with snakes coiling in his hair and a forked tongue that causes a hissing sound when he speaks.  He is badly in need of care and restoration.  Hiawatha shows his true forgiveness and compassion towards his arch enemy when he prepares Tadodaho a curative medicine and asks him to sorcerize into an eagle and protect all the tribes perched atop  the highest tree when he is healed. He will be the great keeper of peace for all the tribes.  Will the men and women of the Mohawk nation agree knowing Tadhado's past?  Will Tadodaho accept this coveted role and commit to peace for all?  Is he trustworthy?

There are in-depth end-notes and a CD performed by Roberston that I know will give you a deeper emotional connection to the story.  It is a very beautiful book both from the narrative standpoint and especially from the beautiful illustrations.  I highly, highly recommend it. 

About the author...

Robbie Robertson was the lead guitarist and primary songwriter of the legendary musical group the Band and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He lives in Los Angeles.

About the illustrator...

David Shannon is the beloved author and illustrator of numerous bestselling books for children, including the Caldecott Honor book No, David! He lives in Los Angeles.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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