Friday, July 11, 2014

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache - a Trickster Tale

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache - a Trickster Tale, told by Greg Rodgers
Illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener
Cinco Puntos Press
$7.95, 40 pgs

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache - a Trickster Tale is the engaging Choctaw parable of lazy Chukfi Rabbit, the lengths he will go to in order to avoid work, and the consequences, too. Ms. Shukata Possum needed a new house. All of her friends have readily offered to help build her new home. But not Chukfi Rabbit, who cagily tries to get out of this chore for his friend until she tells him that she is making dinner for everyone who helps, including her famous, fresh homemade butter.

Well this changes Chukfi Rabbit's mind in a hurry and he eagerly agrees to help. When the day arrives everyone shows up to help and Chukfi Rabbit is there, too, but he pretends to be sick. While everyone else is working hard for their friend, Chukfi Rabbit has found the tub of fresh butter keeping cool in the creek. When Shukata Possum discovers that the butter is gone, Chukfi Rabbit discovers that selfishness, among other things, can separate you, literally and figuratively, from your friends.

Leslie Stall Widener's illustrations are classic and good-humored. The emotional eloquence of the animals' faces is a delight. Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache - a Trickster Tale is a retelling of a Choctaw fable and as such doesn't have an author, but rather a narrator. Greg Rodgers is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and frequently travels the country sharing stories at schools, libraries, festivals, and tribal events.

Chukfi Rabbit is the perfect tale to inspire the virtues, and teach the satisfactions, of community and teamwork in your little ones. Now I'm going to head for the post office and send my copy to my brand-new grandson.

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