HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale
Author: Nancy Kelly Allen
Illustrator: Sherry Rogers
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1628552072 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1628552077 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1628552164 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1628552166 (Paperback)
Related websites: http://nancykellyallen.com (author), http://sherry-rogers.com (illustrator), http://www.SylvanDellPublishing.com or http://www.arbordalepublishing.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-10
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Allen, Nancy Kelly. First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale (published in 2014 by Arbordale Publishing formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing, 612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464). Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? And how did the earth get fire? This Cherokee folktale, retold by Nancy Kelly Allen and nicely illustrated by Sherry Rogers, begins “when the world was new.” The nights painted the earth with frost, the days blew cold winds, and ice daggers dangled from cliffs. Yet, earth had no fire. One day Thunder hurls a lightning bolt which strikes a sycamore tree on an island and creates flames. Several animals see what happens, but how can they get the fire?
The white raven goes first, but its feathers are singed black. Next, the screech owl makes a stab at it, but the fire burns its eyes and turns them red. Several other animals also try, such as the hoot owl, the horned owl, the racer snake, and the tiny spider. All but one fail. Which one succeeds and is able to bring the fire back for the animals? The section “For Creative Minds” in the back of the book contains further information about the Cherokee people, fire (including a true-false quiz), and water spiders, with even more free learning activities online at the publisher’s website. Anyone interested in Native American folklore will especially appreciate First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale.