A Boy Called Slow

SKU: 069811616X

Joseph Bruchac
Grade Levels:
Two, Three, Four, Five
Lakota, Plains, Sioux
Book Type:
Penguin Books
Copyright Date:

Sale price$10.99


A Boy Called Slow: The True Story of Sitting Bull is a biography of the young Lakota Sioux youth who became a great leader. Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac retells the story of the boy's early years from his birth in 1831 until the youth's coming of age. Bruchac sets the story within the family and camp of a Plains Nation. The mother and father of the infant, who was to become Sitting Bull, are caring and pleased parents. The selection of a name for the infant is an important event and those around the child watch him carefully for a hint of his characteristics. The baby takes his time and that influences the final selection of his name, Slow. It did not refer to abilities but commented on his deliberate actions. While growing up the boy named Slow listen carefully to his elders and absorbed the traditional stories. As he grew he thought often about his name and yearned for a strong and powerful name like his father's name, Returns Again to Strike the Enemy. Slow listened carefully to the teachings of his mother and father. His mother explained how her husband received his name and encouraged Slow to combine wisdom with bravery. Returns Again had many abilities as a leader and one was the ability to communicate with animals. One summer, Returns Again was out hunting and one night was approached by an old bull buffalo. The buffalo seemed to mumble something as it approached but Returns Again recognized that the buffalo was giving the man four strong names. One of these names, Tatan'ka Iyota'ke (Sitting Bull), was the name Returns Again gave to his teenage son Slow on the occasion of the youth's first counting of coup on an enemy. Here the story ends with the author explaining that Sitting Bull would become the greatest of all Lakota warriors. Throughout the story, Bruchac weaves in facts that dispel myths about the Plains people. For instance he explains that women are the heart of the Nation to the Lakota people. In another instance he provides the alternate explanation for the coming of horses to the Lakota. The only drawback of this excellent picture book is the somber and dark illustrations provided by the artist Rocco Baviera. Unfortunately the images fail to capture of the life and spirit of Sitting Bull's Lakota childhood. But perhaps the artist is foretelling the historical decline of the Plains culture. Nevertheless the story does a great job of explaining the childhood of a famous Lakota leader, the importance of names, and the value of determination and hard work. Guided Reading Level: U; Lexile measure: 690L; DRA: 50. Level: 4.3; Reading Level: 3.0.

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