Rabbit had a strong desire to go to the moon. He could not jump far enough and none of the birds would agree to fly him there. Finally, Crane saw Rabbit’s disappointment and decided to take him. In the flight, Rabbit held on to Brother Crane’s legs, stretching them into the long legs that cranes have today. Rabbit’s bloody paw touched the Crane’s head, which gave him his characteristic red headdress. This satisfying story gradually builds suspense as Rabbit tries to achieve his dream. Crane’s role adds a theme of brotherly support and helpfulness. Although the storytelling is good, its authenticity as a Cree legend is not documented.
The watercolor illustrations have a fuzzy, sleepy quality, yet are clear enough that the animals depict a range of emotions, from Rabbit’s dejection to Hawk’s arrogance. Illustrations of some kind are on every page, with most of the pictures in panels adjacent to the text. The story itself is told in fairly short, easy-to-understand sentences, making this a good a choice for a bedtime story or for older students studying folktales.
by Douglas Wood