Wabi, a Hero's Tale

by Joseph Bruchac

Hardcover, 2006



Call number

Fic Bru

Call number

Fic Bru

Local notes

Fic Bru




Dial (2006), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 208 pages


After falling in love with an Abenaki Indian woman, a white great horned owl named Wabi transforms into a human being and has several trials and adventures while learning to adapt to his new life.


Physical description

208 p.; 5.78 inches


0803730985 / 9780803730984



User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Joseph Bruchac, a gifted and prolific author who has explored his Abenaki (Native American) heritage through numerous genres of writing, including historical, contemporary and horror fiction; poetry, folktale anthologies; picture books; juvenile biographies; and non-fiction; here adds to his growing repertoire by making his first foray into the world of fantasy.

Wabi, so named because of his white feathers, is an unusually large and intelligent owl, raised by his wise Great-Grandmother, with whom he can converse in the human tongue. It is this ability that allows Wabi to observe and understand the humans who live in the village near his home. As he grows fond of "his" humans, Wabi gradually becomes their Village Guardian, protecting them from various monsters. But the more he sees of humans, the more he longs to be a part of their community, especially when he begins to fall in love with Dojihla, a strong-willed young Abenaki maiden. Wabi's transformation into a human man is not without its dangers however, chief among them rejection and heartbreak, and our hero soon finds himself on a quest that takes him far from home...

As someone who admires Joseph Bruchac and has an interest in the connection between fantasy and folklore, this novel was of real interest to me. It is clear that Bruchac draws heavily upon traditional Abenaki folklore in writing Wabi, but I found myself wondering whether the various names and monsters were taken directly from tradition, or whether the author transformed them in any way for narrative purposes. I enjoyed Wabi, but although Bruchac has told an engaging story, I found his narrative lacked some of the emotional power of his other works, notably: The Arrow Over the Door and Hidden Roots.

One other note: I noticed that some of the Abenaki words, like "bedagiak," which means "Thunder Beings," have the same suffix as the word for the American colonists: "Bostoniak." I found myself wondering if the suffix "iak" or "ak" is always added to a word for a group of beings/people? (As always reader, write me if you know...)
… (more)
LibraryThing member zodox5
Wabi is a great book.It's about an owl that turns into a boy for the love a Indian girl.He also has a wolf for a pet or friend that he goes on adventures with.
LibraryThing member sanguinity
Wabi feels fresh. That's at least in part due to the story's rooting in Abenaki tradition: I haven't seen a were-owl protagonist since Owl in Love, and having had no previous experience with this slate of supernatural characters, I had no ability to predict what was around the next corner.

Wabi is a confident young hero, free of angst, doubt, and whining. He's a bit foolish in his innocence, perhaps, but not fatally so. Sometimes I laugh at his confident naivete, but mostly I simply like him. And I like his true love, too: she's not an object to be won, but a person to be won over. She has agency, and she doesn't have to be a tomboy to get it.

Cool stuff, this is. My brain has happily spent the past couple weeks playing in the setting of the novel, battling frog-women, sledding across plains of ash, and flying through the forest canopy.
… (more)
LibraryThing member heathersblue
One of the teens at my library insisted I must read this...repeatedly. So I finally got a copy and started reading. Listen to those teens because the book is fantastic. A rare chance to enter into a Native American story and live the legend. I'm a believer in Wabi.
LibraryThing member LemurKat
Whilst it got off to a promising start, the story quickly dimished into simplicity once Wabi transformed. The relationship between he and the human girl that he "fell in love" with seemed more aimed at convenience rather than any actual emotional attachment forming between the two and once Wabi changed for her, he basically became perfect at everything and anything and was just so wonderful and brilliant and made no real mistakes or even really struggled, even when facing off against the monsters. Overall, very little tension, poor character development and a weak plot that is only saved by the hints of wry humour that occasionally shine through.… (more)
LibraryThing member rldougherty
Wabi shows us what the hero can do even after being rejected by the woman he loves. Undertake an epic journey, kill the monsters, resist the powerful, free the enslaved. Fantastic story of an owl who longs to become human in order to win the heart of a smart, articulate, and stubborn young woman. You can't go back but you can go forward, especially with the wise counsel and love of your great-grandmother.… (more)




(30 ratings; 3.8)
Page: 0.2303 seconds