McDermott, Gerald. RAVEN. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993. ISBN
In this Native American tale, Raven feels sorry for the men and women of
the world because they are living in darkness. He flies in search of light and finds it in the house of the Sky Chief. Raven
tricks the sky chief and gives light to the world.
In this trickster tale, Raven is sad that the world is in darkness. The illustrations
in the early part of the book are dark and misty, much like the Pacific Northwest coast where the story originated. Raven's
bright colors stand out from the drab background, clearly proclaiming him the hero of the story. When Raven transforms to
a baby, he retains many of the physical features and bright colors he had as a bird, reminding us of his purpose for being
in the Sky Chief's house. McDermott does an excellent job of depicting the Sky Chief and his family in traditional Native
The story has many of the elements of
good traditional literature. The plot is simple and direct; Raven is on a quest to bring the sun to the world. He completes
his quest cleverly, with the help of magic. The language style has an oral quality. When the book is read aloud it retains
the flavor of a legend told from one generation to the next and brings to life the traditions of the Pacific Northwest Native
Children will enjoy this book with its brightly colored hero who used trickery
and magic to do a good deed.