Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Favorite Picture Books: The Legend of the Bluebonnet

Did you see Extra Yarn was named a Caldecott Honor Book yesterday? I don't always agree with their choices, but I do love to see my favorites named because that little sticker helps keep them in print.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet, an old tale of Texas retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

We've read this book many times over the years. A young girl's parents have died and she is alone in her Native American tribe. They are suffering in the midst of a great drought. The elders determine a great sacrifice is needed, "a burnt offering of the most valued possession among us."

The other members of the tribe consider the words, convincing themselves the sacrifice desired is not their own most treasured possession. But the little girl has no doubt. She knows her doll, the doll her mother made for her with blue feathers gathered by her father, is her most valued possession. Thinking only of her People and their suffering, she burns her doll and spreads the ashes. In the morning, she is greeted by a miracle and the thanksgiving of her people.

Parents must use their own judgment in deciding if this book is right for their children. Some are perhaps not ready to read of parents who have died (mine are unfazed by this thought). The idea of a burnt offering to Great Spirits might also be problematic (though we usually just talk about how the missionaries had not yet come to tell them of the one true God). In my mind, this legend of one young girl being willing to make such a great sacrifice for the good of her people is a precious one.

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