July 8, 2013
Crazy Horse’s Vision by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by S.D. Nelson
Crazy Horse’s Vision
by Joseph Bruchac,
illustrated by S.D. Nelson
Lee and Low Books
Crazy Horse wasn’t like those around him. Other babies are born crying. Crazy Horse watched the world around him. Most Lakota have straight hair but he had curly hair so his parents called him Curly.
Curly might be smaller than the other boys but he was strong. His friends followed him into the river to swim, across the plains on their horses and up the mountains to where the bald eagles nest. When he was only 11, he gentled a wild horse that his father brought into the camp. Curly rode this horse on his first buffalo hunt.
It might sound like Curly had a wonderful childhood but he lived in an area that was being crowded by Wasichu (white) settlers. His people and the Wasichu lived such different lives that misunderstandings were inevitable and with the U.S. Army present, these miunderstandings ended badly for the Lakota. After a brave killed a settler’s cow that was trampling the camp, the Army fired into the camp in spite of Lakota attempts to repay the settler. Curly saw it all happen and left the camp on his horse to seek out a vision about how to help his people.
Because he went on this vision quest without the help and advice of his elders, his father didn’t want to hear about his vision. It wasn’t until he became a better person, living to help those around him that his father asked what he had seen. That was the day that he came to be known as Tashunka Witco, or Crazy Horse in English.
Crazy Horse led his people by giving generously and always being willing to take on tasks himself. This isn’t a comprehensive biography, telling Crazy Horse’s story from birth until death but it is a touching story of how a young boy comes to be a leader.
Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. He patterns his artistic style after the ledger drawings; this is especially obvious on the paintings used to decorate the end papers of this book. You will know the style by the black line outlines and bright colors used to fill each space.
This isn’t a new book but it is a favorite of mine and still available in paperback. I’m lucky to have a hard back library addition, purchased at a library sale.
This isn’t a suitable story for preschoolers, because of the killings committed by the Army but it provides older children with an example of someone who led not for his own benefit but to help his people.