Knots on a Counting Rope…

This is far more than a story; it is a tender dialogue between a weathered, aged Indian grandfather and his grandson around a cozy campfire as the sun is setting and darkness is quickly falling.  They sit cross-legged, facing one other, each holding onto a rope with small knots along the length of it.

“Tell me the story again, Grandfather. Tell me who I am.”

“I have told you many times, Boy.  You know the story by heart.”

Yet once again patiently and gently Grandfather relays the story of the night the child was born.  The child was not strong, but born weak and frail, and  been born with a dark curtain in front of his eyes.

Grandfather shares how he’d carried his infant grandson outside to the horses and that the boy raised his tiny arms up to touch them. With each retelling, another knot is tied in the rope.  As the boy grows, he gains strength, and Grandfather teaches the boy to ride his own pony. Every day along a trail, he follows his grandfather on his pony until he can ride holding his own reins.

One day his Grandfather tells him, “You have raced the darkness and won! You now can see with your heart,  feel a part of all that  surrounds you. Your courage lights the way.”

Far more than a story; this is a lesson in love and trust between generations that will warm your heart. You may even feel yourself lingering over the exquisitely beautiful illustrations.

Mary Byrne Kline

Review by Publisher Weekly

Gathered near a campfire under a canopy of stars, a Navaho Indian boy hears the tale of his birth from his grandfather. Born on a windy night, the child was weak and frail. In the early morning, Grandfather brought him out to meet the morning. Two blue horses galloped by, stopped and looked at him; the baby raised his arms to them. Grandfather said, “”This boy child will not die. The great blue horses have given him the strength to live.” Named Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, the child later needs that well of strength to deal with the fact that he is blind. Rand’s atmospheric, vivid paintings evoke the tale’s sensibility as they move it along. The beauty and vastness of the Western sky and the intimacy of two loving figures by a campfire are portrayed with equal fluidity. A rich tale of intergenerational love and respect, this is bittersweet and unsentimental. It is a moving collaborative effort that reverberates long after the book is closed. Ages 5-8.

An absolutely fabulous read aloud VIDEO is available at Storyline Online  – The SAG Foundation.   Enjoy and then consider purchasing a copy for your home library!

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