Second book in the Prairie Tale Series
Visit the Prairie Tale website.
Most Outstanding Children's Book of 2008—Mom's Choice Awards
2008 Aesop Accolade—American Folklore Society
Gold Medal Winner in the Children's Books, Ages 5-8, Myths, Legends & Fantasies category—Mom's Choice Awards
Bronze Medal in the Best Illustrator category—2008 Moonbeam Awards
"An enjoyable story faithful to the original legend."—The Midwest Book Review
"The narrative tension builds deliciously . . . This tale would be perfect in a scary story time, told with the lights down low."—School Library Journal
"Nelson's illustrations add to the tension between the creeping wildcat and the celebrating mice."—School Library Journal
Dance in a Buffalo Skull is a tale of late-night frolics, danger, and survival on the prairie. Join tiny field mice for a great feast and dance inside an old buffalo skull. Out of the dark, two fiery eyes glide through the prairie grass, drawing closer to the mice who are oblivious in their merrymaking. What happens next reveals as much about the mice as about their unexpected guest.
This Prairie Tale recreates a world in miniature, with elements of classic fairy tales and traditional fables, and its messages still resonate today. A traditional American Indian story passed orally from generation to generation, it was translated in English and written down by Zitkala-Ša in 1901.
Contemporary Lakota artist S. D. Nelson has created vibrant pictures that add drama to the story. He fuses traditional Lakota Indian styles with modern interpretations to provide visual clues to ancient words.
"The art blends Lakota tradition and modern styles to match the tall tale and bring it to life."—The Midwest Book Review
[S. D. Nelson] "evokes a perfect combination of traditional prairie landscapes, the bright, wild, foot-stomping mice, and the eerie beast of the night."—True West
"Our son really likes Dance in a Buffalo Skull. He loves the illustrations . . . It has become one of his bedtime favorites."—Heather Mirman
"The beautiful illustrations are rich in color and detail and very engaging. The colorfully garbed mice and the bright yellow of the cat’s eyes fascinated my four-year-old daughter. She described the story as 'funny' and 'exciting.'
"I enjoyed the light touch that the author and illustrator of this book took in conveying the feeling of the prairie. It is first and foremost a beautiful picture book that just happens to provide a window into a unique culture. I also appreciated the author’s choice of words that might be new to a young reader or listener such as 'frolic,' 'nigh,' 'stealthy' and 'venison.' A helpful glossary at the back of the book defines these terms for the reader."—www.LibraryThing.com
"The first thing I noticed when I got the book was how beautiful the cover is. It just makes you want to open it and discover the story within. The introduction to the book gives parents a great understanding of the history behind the story. If you are the type of parent who wants to expose your child to different cultures, this book is an easy and fun way to introduce them to the Sioux Indian Oral Tradition.
The imagery in the story as well as the beautiful artwork make this story a delight to both the eyes and the imagination. The vocabulary of the story is a bit more challenging than is found in your typical children's book, but there is a glossary to help with those words, for the older children enjoying the story.
I don't personally have children, although I've always loved reading aloud to them. I lent my copy of this book to a good friend so she could 'test' it on a real child. Her son, 4yrs old, loved the story and asked for it to be read multiple times. She said he normally doesn't do that. So not only is this book a delight for an adult to read, it is a delight for a child to listen to."—www.LibraryThing.com
"A great little book! My kids and I enjoyed it very much."—www.LibraryThing.com
Read some reviews of this book from Goodreads.com
"This book's appeal for children up to about third grade lies in the beauty of its illustrations. S.D. Nelson's vibrant illustrations magnify the impact of Zitkala-Sa's version of the story."—North Dakota History
Visit www.LibraryThing.com to read more reviews of Dance in a Buffalo Skull
Read a review of Dance in a Buffalo Skull in Foreword Magazine.
Read a review from True West Magazine.
Listen to a podcast of an interview with Nelson by clicking on the link below.
Visit S. D. Nelson's website.
Read the full Aesop Committee comments by downloading the PDF below.
Listen to a South Dakota Public Broadcasting edition of "Dakota Midday" focusing on the life of Zitkala-Ša.