In the Bear’s House

May 3rd, 2015 | By | Category: Media Reviews, Online media reviews, Web Exclusive
By Eleanor Kuhl

In-the-Bears-HouseBy N. Scott Momaday
St. Martin’s Press (2010)
112 pages

Review by Eleanor Kuhl

Imagine my surprise to pick up this delightfully illustrated book and discover that the first 48 pages are a conversation between Yahweh (the Creator) and Bear (the creation). In this book, Bear is always spoken of in the singular and the masculine, capitalized, and without an article.  Bear is creation, the spirit of wilderness, and in this book his name is Urset.

The book contains conversation, poems (one as short at four lines), drama, short stories, and whimsical illustrations by Momaday himself. The librarian can find a wealth of literary styles and recommend this book to children (who will love the illustrations and shorter poems), teenage boys (who will enjoy “The Bear Hunt”), and to thoughtful adults. Short sketches even give stage settings which a drama teacher could put to good use in the classroom.

A wonderful introduction to the work of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author should be in every tribal college and community library. Although the Library of Congress cataloged it as a book about bears, it is much more. I see In the Bear’s House as a curriculum resource for art, writing, drama, and literature classes in all schools.


Eleanor Kuhl was librarian at Dinẻ College and now serves as a proofreader for Tribal College Journal.

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