The Snake That Lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains & Other Ohlone Stories

May 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 11-4: All Our Children Are Special, Media Reviews

By Linda Yamane
Oyate, Berkeley, CA
1998, 40 pages

Review by Maria Escalante, College of the Menominee Nation Librarian

This collection springs from the work of John P. Harrington, an ethnographer and linguist from the Smithsonian Institute who went to California in the 1920s and 1930s. He worked diligently with Ohlone elders to record their stories. Linda Yamane draws from Harrington’s work in her book and presents six Ohlone stories. While the author continues the admirable job of preserving her people’s stories, she does not write to her intended audience of ages five and up. She seems to have taken Harrington’s work word for word, which makes the vocabulary too high for young children. Also, while the book is illustrated, the pencil drawings are not sufficient in number to hold the attention of beginning readers. Overall each story is interesting but lacks the message the elders were trying to share. For readers of all ages, an explanation of what lesson the elders were trying to teach is essential. The collection does a commendable job of preserving Ohlone tribal stories for future generations.

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