Blake, Robert J. Yudonsi: A Tale From the Canyons. Illustrated by Robert J. Blake. Philomel, 1999. ISBN 0-399-23320-2. $15.99. 32 pp. B+ Pre-2 PB??Reviewed by Cinda Clement Yudonsi, a contemporary Native American boy, wants people to notice he is different, so he writes his name on canyon walls, trees, and wherever else it will be noticed. This alienates him from the rest of his people, who ask Wachi, an old one of the village, to tell Yudonsi to stop. When Wachi warns that the canyon does not like what he is doing, Yusi will not listen. The people turn from him and start calling him “You don’t see,” or Yudonsi. They will not let him play his flute at their party because they don't want the canyon to know he is there. They warn him of the temper of the canyon, but Yusi ignores the people. He finds a place far above the village on a canyon wall where he can write his name so everyone will see it. As he climbs up the wall and starts to spray paint his name, a storm comes howling in. Yusi finds a cave to wait out the storm. He hides in the back of the cave as his people come in it to wait out the flood and furor of the storm. Yusi finally realizes as he watches his people that everything is a part of the whole, and he plays a beautiful song on his flute. As he plays his music, the sky clears and he is at one with the people, the earth, and himself. He becomes Yusi. The oil paintings are wonderfully evocative of the canyon country. They are rich in reds, oranges and the bright colors of Southern Utah. The story is a simple one with a simple lesson that can teach us all. The Indian way is to perceive people as an integral part of a circle, rather than the center of it. The story teaches this lesson to Yudonsi, as well as to the children who read it.
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