Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Children of the Tipi by Michael Oren Fitzgerald

book cover
Children of the Tipi:
Life in the Buffalo Days
by Michael Oren Fitzgerald

ISBN-13: 9781937786090
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Released: June 1, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
What was it like to grow up in the world of the pre-reservation Plains Indians before the coming of the white settlers? Prior to our modern era of television, video games, and computers how did American Indian children live, learn, and play? In this beautifully illustrated book, award-winning author, Michael Oren Fitzgerald, combines stunning photographs and simple quotations by Indian chiefs and elders to explain to today's youth what life would have been like growing up on the American plains.

Children of the Tipi includes sections on boys and girls at play, camp life, and the important role of parents and grandparents. It features historical sepia photographs of children at work and play, as well as detailed color photographs of their toys, tools, and everyday objects.

My Review:
Children of the Tipi is a children's nonfiction book about native American tribes who lived on the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains at "the time of the buffalo." The pages are full of sepia photographs taken of these tribes during that time period. There are also some full color photographs of clothing, everyday items, and weapons as well as a map showing the locations of the various plains and Rocky Mountain tribes. However, some of the people quoted in the book are from tribes not shown on the map.

The text consisted of short quotes from men and women from a wide variety of tribes who were born before 1904. About 10 of the 36 pages focused on how the children were raised and their daily life (their play, interactions with older people, how they were named, story time, etc.). The rest of the book was about daily life in general for adults and children (moving camp, women's work, men's work, spiritual beliefs and rituals, jewelry, weaving, etc.).

I found the quotes containing childhood memories very interesting. There were also quotes about the beliefs and customs of various tribes and some tribal proverbs.

Overall, I found this book interesting, especially the photographs. It's too bad that the photographs weren't captioned with information about which tribe was pictured or where they were. Also, the book didn't give a lot of information about daily life and didn't focus on specific tribes, so keep in mind that this is more of a "coffee table book" than a history book.

I'm not sure how interesting a young child who isn't Native American would find this book. Back when I was a tween, I liked to read history or "other culture" nonfiction, but I was more interested in the day-to-day activities than in quotes about how moral their people were. So I'm not precisely sure who I'd recommend this book to.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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