Cover image for Turtle Island : tales of the Algonquian nations
Turtle Island : tales of the Algonquian nations
Curry, Jane Louise.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
145 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A collection of twenty tales from the different tribes that are part of the Algonquian peoples who lived from the Middle Atlantic States up through eastern Canada.
Reading Level:

760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.6 6 Quiz: 17716 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library E99.A83 C87 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library E99.A83 C87 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library E99.A83 C87 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library E99.A83 C87 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library E99.A83 C87 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



A collection of twenty tales from the different tribes that are part of the Algonquian peoples who lived from the Middle Atlantic States up through eastern Canada.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-7. The Algonquin nations, which include tribes that lived along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Tennessee, around the Great Lakes, north into central Canada, and as far west as Montana, have a long, rich tradition of storytelling. The 27 tales here include stories of how the world was made, pourquoi stories, cautionary tales, and legends of heroes and tricksters. The first nine stories are best read in the sequence presented, for they explain the First World, the Great Flood, and the creation of the Second World, the world as it is known to Algonquins today. The stories vary in length, tribal origin, and content, though Curry draws connections from one tale to the next. Most are very accessible, but middle readers will find a few somewhat confusing. The few very simple black-and-white line drawings don't add much to the tales. Tribal information and excellent source notes are appended. --Karen Hutt

Publisher's Weekly Review

Curry (Back in the Beforetime) retells 27 Algonquian creation, pourquoi and trickster tales in this well-rounded collection. Each conveys an underlying respect for all creatures and their interconnectedness, a belief held by various Algonquian nations, including the Blackfoot, Shawnee and Pequot tribes. Another recurring theme, that in the past all beings possessed a mystical ability to change shapes, comes through in the title story: when a flood destroys the world, an enormous ancient turtle rescues Nanabush (a manito or spirit) and all the surviving animals from the tallest tree; he creates the "Second World" atop his enormous shell. ("That is why the Lenap‚ call this earth they live on Turtle Island. And when the earth quakes, they say, it is the Great Turtle, moving in his sleep.") Other tales offer insight into the nations' governing practices, as in "Why Blackfeet Never Kill Mice," when a human chief helps settle an argument between the animal and bird council with a battle of wits. The closing "Glooskap's Farewell Gifts" explores the relationship between man and God (Glooskap). Brief information about each tribe's history and storytelling traditions follows in an afterword. While humor infuses many of the tales, the cartoonish black-and-white illustrations, unfortunately, take the characters a bit too lightly, echoing 1940s movie characterizations of the Algonquians. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-These more than two dozen traditional tales will delight any storyteller. Ranging from the strange "The Bear Maiden" (Ojibway) and the delightful "Beaver and Muskrat Change Tails" (Malecite) to a story of transformation, "How Glooskap Defeated the Great Bullfrog" (Passamaquoddy), every story is written in simple, easily flowing language that's perfect for telling. Beginning with "The Creator Makes the World" (Lenap‚) and ending with "Glooskap's Farewell Gifts" (Micmac/Passamaquoddy), the stories are arranged in a logical order. Sometimes two or three together lead into one another very smoothly through similar themes or characters. This collection offers a selection as broad as Joseph Bruchac's Native American Animal Stories (Fulcrum, 1992) and as entertaining as Seneca Indian Stories (Greenfield Review, 1995) by Ha-yen-doh-nees (Leo Cooper) and Maggi Cunningham's The Cherokee Tale-Teller (Dillon, 1978; o.p.). A brief introduction gives some background on the Algonquian peoples, especially the Lenap‚, and is accompanied by a simple map showing locations in the United States and Canada of "Some of the Algonquian Peoples." Back matter includes "About the Storytellers," which gives a paragraph or two about each of the 17 source tribes represented by the selections. "About the Stories" lists sources from which each tale is derived. Curry has done a fine job of providing a wealth of tales ready for presentation by other tellers.-Ann G. Brouse, Big Flats Branch Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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