Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest

by Gerald McDermott

Hardcover, 1993

Call number



Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1993), Edition: 1st, 32 pages


Raven, a Pacific Coast Indian trickster, sets out to find the sun.

User reviews

LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
The art in this is a lot of fun, I especially liked the look of the Raven boy. The story is a mish-mash of a many different versions, and there is no acknowledgement of any original cultural setting other than the very vague 'Pacific Northwest in the title. The ending with its emphasis on gratitude
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seemed a little bit didactic for my taste.
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LibraryThing member Brianna82
The story of the Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott, tells the tale of the Native American culture of the Pacific Northwest. The story follows a clever raven, searching for the sun to bring from the Sky Chief to all the people of the
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land. He finds the sun in the most unique way.

'Raven came.
All the world was in darkness.
The sky above was in darkness.
The waters below were in darkness.
Men and women lived in dark and cold.
Raven was sad for them.
He said, "I will search for light."'

The story can be shared in curriculum for study of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans culture; for all ages.

Pacific Northwest Native American mythology, Nature, transformation.
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LibraryThing member jgabica
This book is a common myth in many Native American tribes. The raven in this book is a hero because he disguises himself as a boy to steal the sun, and then turns back into a raven and gives the sun to the people. The plot of this book is clearly evident: The people lived in darkness and needed
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light; the Raven tracked down light; He morphed into other beings to obtain the light; the Raven gave the sun to the people and they had light. So, the problem was evident from the very beginning and the Raven solved it. Media: Gouache, colored pencil, and pastel on watercolor paper.
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LibraryThing member netaylor
Raven, a Pacific Northwest trickster, wants to bring light to the world. He sets out to find where the Sky Chief keeps the light. His journey is not an easy one, but Raven will not give up.
LibraryThing member aengle
K-2. This book has longer sentences and 3-4 sentece paragraphs so this is great for younger children. Students will also enjoy the fun, imaginary tale of the Raven.
LibraryThing member eward06
This represents a Myth because it contains religious beliefs of past cultures. It expresses a sense of people's religion and philosophy from long ago as it tells of Raven and him going from bird, to boy, to bird.
LibraryThing member ashore06
One version of the native american foltale/myth about the Raven. In this version he turns himself into a pine needle and is swallowed by the daugher of the Sky chief and then becomes his grandchild who eventually steal the ball of the sun and turns back into Raven and throws the sun into the sky
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giving light to the world. Media:Gouache, Colored Pencil, pastel *Caldecott Hono
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LibraryThing member korneder
another great by McDermott, Raven brings light to the world.
somewhat complex storyline, good for building questioning skills to make sure you understand the story.
LibraryThing member sharty
The people lived in darkness, and Raven disguises himself as a baby in order to steal the sun. This light is shared with the world. The vivid illustrations represent the style of Pacific Northwest American Indians.
LibraryThing member jenflock
All the world is in darkness at the beginning of this traditional tale from the Indian cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Raven feels sorry for the people living in the gloomy cold, so he flies to the house of the Sky Chief in search of light and warmth. To get inside, Raven pulls a shape-shifting
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trick that allows him to be born to the god's daughter. As a spoiled and comic infant, Raven demands and gets the shiny ball that the gods have hidden away. The art and text capture the spirit of the Native American trickster hero; benevolent, clever, magical, unscrupulous, and ultimately triumphant, Raven acts out human virtues and foibles on a cosmic scale.
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LibraryThing member ShelbyDietsch
summary: The raven noticed there was no light in the world so he decided to go find the light. He has to use his magic and tricks in order to steal the light and bring it back to the earth.

Classroom connection: I think this book could be used in the classroom when studying Native American tales.
LibraryThing member ShalynAdams
In this traditional literature book it is about a raven trying to find light for
all people so they wouldn’t have to live in the dark anymore. He flew until
he found light and got changed into a child so he could get the ball of light.
When he got the ball of light called the sun he took it and
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put it up in the sky
so everyone could have light.

I thought this was a really cute story. It was a little weird when he was turned
into a child. This story would be a good story for children because they would be
trying to imagine being the raven and finding the sun.

Something I would do in the classroom would have the class get into groups and
get a box and put smaller boxes inside each other. When they got through
making the boxes they would but a small flash light in the bottom to represent the sun.
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LibraryThing member barefootTL
Raven – A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest – by Gerald McDermott
ELIB 530A – LibraryThing Part C – Book 2 of 5 – motif: magical birds
This is one retelling of the tale of how Raven stole the sun and brought it to his people. Raven shape shifts from bird to pine needle to boy and
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then back to bird in order to trick the Sky Chief and his family into showing him where the sun is hidden. In the end he finds it, steals it and then puts it in the sky so the world will be light. This is just one variation of a traditional story told throughout native groups of the northwest coast.
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LibraryThing member Strodebl
I love how in a simple tale, natives explain how light can to be in the earth
LibraryThing member jasongiles
Nicely done story of Raven, an important element in the Native American culture. The Pacific Northwest in particular. This is the tale of how Raven stole the sun and placed it in the sky for the people. The shape shifting Raven disguises himself as the grandchild of the Sky Chief and tricks the
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chief into giving him the sun. The artwork is steeped in the native traditions, trappings, and palettes. The scenery captures the misty, ghostlike forests common to the Pacific Northwest.
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LibraryThing member jwondga
I love the native artwork of the aboriginal peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Artists such as Bill Reid (whose artwork graces the Canadian 20$ bill) are now stuff of modern legend.

Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest is a beautifully illustrated, lovingly coloured folktale book which
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tells an ages-old story about a raven spirit who brings light and warmth to a cold world. Just a beautiful book.
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LibraryThing member bananajames29
This is a tale that comes from the native american tribes in the pacific northwest. It is about a raven, an important figure in their culture, who is on the hunt to search for light. He wishes to bring it to the world in order to brighten up their days so he mischeviously shapeshifts and tricks the
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Skychief into giving him the sun.
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LibraryThing member erineell
Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, like the purpose of many Native American folktales, explains why something is the way it is in nature. In this case, McDermott retells this old tale of how Raven cleverly brought light to the entire world. Raven is saddened by the darkness that
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people live in and he searches for light. He finds light from the house of the Sky Chief and makes himself into a pine needle that the Sky Chief’s daughter drank. By doing so, he was reborn as a boy child. He deceived everyone at the house of the Sky Chief and he used this new shape to find where the light was hidden. Once he discovered the light, he took it and transformed himself back into raven form as he flew away with the light. Eventually, he threw the light high into the sky and it stayed, giving people sun. This is a trickster tale as it shows how “Raven balances his heroism and trickery to bring blessing to people.” Throughout McDermott’s illustrations, Raven distinctly stands out (drawn as he would be depicted in traditional art pieces within the culture) helping the reader make connections between the events in this story and the emotions of the characters. Moreover, the writing style is engaging. Unique is this picturebook and recommended to be shared when teaching pourquoi and trickery tales.

Age Appropriate: Preschool to 2nd Grade
This story could be used with older age children when studying folklore, trickster and/or pourquoi tales.
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LibraryThing member JohannaJ
This is the story of how Raven stole the sun and gave it to the world.
LibraryThing member bookcat27
Raven wants to give people the gift of light. To do that he must take it away from the Sky Chief. He watches the land where the Sky Chief lives and came up with a plan. He turned himself into a pine needle and floated down to the water where the Sky Chief''s daughter sat. She drank the water with
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the pine needle and after time had passed gave birth to a child. This was Raven who had been reborn into a child. To keep Raven-child from crying, the Sky Chief tells his daughter to give him the box which holds the sun. Raven turns into a bird and fly's away with the ball of light and throws it into the sky which brings light to the people.
This is a traditional story from the Pacific Northwest. Raven is the consummate trickster. When he sees something he wants, he goes after it. He is the central figure in many Native American myths and tales. The illustrator has used a very stylized look that evokes how Raven would have been depicted on a totem pole, carved box, and other items of their culture. The colors are rich and vibrant and are very appropriate to the story and the culture.
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LibraryThing member dcaitlyn
First of all, the illustration immediately captures both the existing Pacific environment, and the traditional artistic images of some local Native American peoples. While the soft watercolor renderings of the evergreen forests and cloud tinged skies make the setting of the story feel authentic to
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the Pacific Northwest, the bold geometric patterns of Raven’s feathers and dress, and the totem-like representation of the characters’ faces capture the look of much of the traditional carvings and paintings of the Tlingit and Haida people. Even in it’s written form, the language of the story seens to capture the oral traditions from which it came. As a child Raven calls “Ga! Ga!” a cry which transitions to “Ha! Ha!” as he successfully outwits the Sky Chief and “Caw! Caw!” as he becomes a bird again. One can imagine how the sound of a real raven’s cry could inspire the creation of this character and his mischievous personality.
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LibraryThing member djmeyers
This is a cute depiction of how the NW Indians describe how light came to the earth. I love the way the author weaves the story, using a ingenous magical raven that transforms himself into a human baby. After endearing himself to the chief as his grandson, the 'baby' begins to seek the source of
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light. Interestingly enough, the Indians are not bothered by the fact that the baby is really a raven as he transforms and that takes the source of light from them. Perhaps they were ready to share? Light is then given to the whole world, who were before living in darkness. The artwork in this book is very bold and colorful with patterns lending itself to a distinct Native American style. It incorporates gouache, colored pencils,and pastels. I can see why this was a Caldecott Honor book as the pictures are just beautiful and full, using the whole layout on each page.
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LibraryThing member morgantk
This was an interesting tale to read. It wasn't my favorite story line, but I did enjoy following the movement within the illustrations. The paintings done in this book were done in gouache, colored pencil, and pastel on heavyweight cold-press watercolor paper. I was impressed with the illustrators
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ability to change the raven character into other objects, but still hold some of the same coloring/style details. My favorite was boy back to raven. I loved seeing the nose and hair look so similar yet they were two different characters.
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LibraryThing member MelindaBoland
Raven sees that one family has all the light while the rest of the world is in darkness. He decides that all the world deserves the light and makes his way into the family so he can get it and share it. A great Native American tale from the Pacific Northwest.
LibraryThing member jtabb0709
This book is a Native American folktale about how the sun came to exist in the sky. It is about a raven who wants to find the light so he decides to turn himself into a pine needle and is drank by a women. He then becomes a baby and she gives birth to him. He finds the sun as a little boy and turns
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back into the raven and takes the sun with him and puts it in the sky. It's a great tale of a trickster.
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0152656618 / 9780152656614


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