Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy

tr. from Spanish by Jon Brokenbrow. illus. by Nivola Uyá. 32p. Cuento de Luz. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9788415784364.
Gr 1–3—Described as "a magical tale about nature and harmony between the different peoples of the world," Eulate's attempt at creating a book about an inspiring Native American child only works in further stereotyping an already problematic area of children's literature. The most glaring stereotype is Eulate's emphasis on the spiritual communion of Native Americans and nature as the central theme of Walking Eagle's message. There is no indication as to why Walking Eagle is bowlegged and without speech; why do these characteristics make him such a powerful spiritual symbol of the story? There is little in the way of plot here: Walking Eagle is born and attempts to unite people with his signed messages of peace and harmony. The story conveys nothing beyond this—was he a real person? When did this story take place? None of these questions can be answered. Also, problematically, the illustrations also perpetuate gross stereotypes. Walking Eagle is depicted as always wearing a ceremonial headdress, which only shows both Eulate and Uyá's lack of research in Comanche customs and connection to Native American cultures. The illustrations also rely heavily on Native American symbols and spiritual items from across several tribes, resulting in a mishmash of nonsense. The lush colors are sure to lure most children in, but as this book has numerous problems, it is not recommended in any way. If perpetuating the idea to children (and adults) that Native Americans are an extinct group of people that used their spiritual beliefs to live in harmony with nature is not your inclination, then save the money spent on adding this book to your collection and seek out picture books that depict Native Americans as tribally distinct and culturally relevant, such as Cynthia Leitich Smith's Indian Shoes (2002) or Jingle Dancer (2000, both HarperCollins).—Beth Dobson, Weatherly Heights Elementary School, Huntsville, AL

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