Jingle Dancer

Cynthia L. Smith (Author) Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator)
Available

Description

The affirming story of how a contemporary Native American girl turns to her family and community to help her dance find a voice.

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But she has a problem--how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?

The cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress sing tink, tink, tink, tink.

Jenna's heart beats to the brum, brum, brum, brum of the powwow drum as she daydreams about the clinking song of her grandma's jingle dancing.

The warm, evocative watercolors of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu complement author Cynthia Leitich Smith's lyrical text in this picture book. Perfect for classroom and library sharing.

Product Details

Price
$17.99  $16.55
Publisher
Quill Tree Books
Publish Date
April 05, 2000
Pages
32
Dimensions
9.65 X 0.37 X 11.41 inches | 0.94 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780688162412

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About the Author

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the author-curator of Heartdrum at HarperCollins and a member of the MFA faculty in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and a long-haired Chihuahua. Her books include Rain Is Not My Indian Name, Jingle Dancer, and Indian Shoes.

Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu have illustrated many distinguished picture books, including Jewels, by Belinda Rochelle (Dutton), which was selected as a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. The couple lives in New York City with their daughter and son.

Reviews

"A contemporary Native American girl follows in her grandmother's footsteps (literally and figuratively), dancing the traditional jingle dance at the powwow. Jenna, a member of the Creek Nation in Oklahoma, dreams of dancing the jingle dance with the women of her tribe and is delighted when her grandmother tells her that she can dance with the other girls at the next powwow. But there is one problem--there won't be enough time to order the materials to make the four rows of jingles that are attached to the dress. If Jenna wants to hear the tink, tink, tink sound that the tin jingles make, she'll have to figure out a way to get the jingles on her own. Fortunately, Jenna is resourceful and knows just what to do. She visits great-aunt Sis, her friend Mrs. Scott, and cousin Elizabeth and borrows a row of jingles from each of them. (Jenna can only borrow one row of jingles apiece--otherwise each dress will lose its "voice.") While the problem of finding the jingles on her own doesn't seem challenging enough for the approbation Jenna receives at the end of the story for her resourcefulness, children will enjoy watching her figure out the solution to her problem. The watercolor illustrations clearly and realistically depict what is happening in the story. The layout of the book is straightforward--mostly double-page spreads that extend all the way to the edges of the paper. Jenna lives in what looks like a nice suburban house, the others seem solidly middle-class, and cousin Elizabeth is a lawyer. The author is deliberately showing us, it would seem, that all Native Americans are not poor or live on rundown reservations. A useful portrayal of an important cultural event in a Creek girl's year.(author's note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-9)"--"Kirkus Reviews""This contemporary Native American tale highlights the importance of family and community through a young girl's dream of joining the dancers at the next powwow. Jenna is a girl of Muscogee (Creek) and Ojibway (Chippewa/Anishinabe) descent. She has practiced the steps for the jingle dance by following her grandmother's moves on a video. Now she must get enough jingles (traditionally made of silver tin, aluminum, or gold canning lids rolled into cones) to sew on her dress to make a satisfying 'tink, tink' as she dances. The way Jenna gathers her jingles (borrowing enough to make a row, but not so many that the lender's dress will 'lose its voice'), and her promise to dance for the women who cannot dance for themselves illustrate the importance of family and community ties. The colorful, well-executed water-color illustrations lend warmth to the story. A note explaining Jenna's heritage and a brief glossary are appended."--"Booklist""Smith, a mixed-blood member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, convincingly juxtaposes cherished Native American tradion and contemporary lifestyle in this smooth debut. Watching a video tape of Grandma Wolfe performing a jingle dance, Jenna is determined to dance at an upcoming powwow. But she lacks the cone-shaped, tin jingles that are sewn on to Dancers' dresses as part of the regalia. The girl walks down a suburban sidewalk lined with modern houses as she sets out to visit her great-aunt, a neighbor, a cousin and Grandma Wolfe, all of whom lend her jingles for her dress. Smith's language consciously evokes legend. For example 'As Sun caught a glimpse of the Moon' indicates the time of day; andJenna is careful to borrow only a limited number of jingles, 'not wanting to take so many that [another's] dress would loose its voice.' Van Wright and Hu's ("Jewels") lifelike renderings capture the genuine affection between Jenna and these caring older women. Their easy integration of Native and standard furnishings and clothing gracefully complement Smith's heartening portrait of a harmonious meshing of old and new."--"Publishers Weekly" ..".This picture book will not only satisfy a need for materials on Native American customs, but will also be a welcome addition to stories about traditions passed down by woman of a culture."--"School Library Journal"