The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories
by Kate Ashwin, Kel McDonald, Alina Pete
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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 08 Dec 2022
Letter Better Publishing Services, Iron Circus Comics
"Enjoyable for reading aloud or sharing around a campfire." -- KIRKUS
“Be careful of what you accept from spirits.”
Loup Garrou, trickster rabbits, and spirits with names that can’t be spoken — the plains and forests of North America are alive with characters like these, all waiting to meet you in this collection of folklore retold in comics!
This fifth volume of the “Cautionary Fables and Fairytales” anthology series features updated takes on ancient stories from tribes spanning the continent, bursting with bedside tales that are thrilling, chilling, and most of all inspiring. Featuring the work of JORDAAN ARLEDGE, MAIJA AMBROSE PLAMONDON, MILO APPLEJOHN, and more!
Average rating from 41 members
This graphic novel collection was beautifully illustrated in several different art styles and color palates. It contains a diverse collection of Native American myths, legends and folklore. As an educator, there are several stories in this collection that I would use in my classroom ranging from kinder to 8th grade. There are many connections to be made through these pages. I loved how all the stories were vastly different in themes and art styles, yet connected with the power of storytelling. They can be easily paired with historical events or other legends/myths/folklore. At the high school level, this collection would work well in any mythology class. The stories could be used separate or the collection can be read together without losing context and meaning.
Highly recommend to diversify the graphic novel genre in all classrooms.
Several short graphic novel tales that either tell or explain indigenous legends and paranormal creatures. Most stories are child friendly, although one or two might be a bit frightening. The stories come from a variety of traditions and the illustration styles vary widely. A good introduction to indigenous stories for those new to the topic or too young to read a longer prose work.
The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories is a graphic novel featuring modern retellings of Native American folklore. Each of the 8 stories in this anthology has a different artist and illustrator. The stories are short and fast-paced, and the illustrations do a good job moving the stories along, This is a great resource for lower and middle-grade libraries to aid in those folklore-based ELA assignments.
The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories is a wonderful graphic anthology of North American folklore. The stories are from tribes across the continent. It makes a great addition to the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales & any library trying to expand its Native American holdings.
I read this book a few months ago and just didn't get around to writing a review on here until now, but this book still has stuck with me throughout that time. I absolutely loved all the different art styles and stories throughout this book. It was interesting to me seeing stories that I know and ones that are completely new to me portrayed in different voices.
I will say that I cannot speak on this book from an Indigenous point of view, as I am not, so I would still recommend seeking out own voices reviews if you would like better insight into that.
An absolutely beautiful anthology of Native/Indigenous stories told with a variety of styles. This is a book I would gladly recommend and add to my classroom book collection without hesitation.
So...when is the next Cautionary Fables & Fairytales book out? Because I'm now caught up, with this book, and I need more. Each one is a delight, focusing on the folklore and mythology of different geographic regions and ethnic groups, and this time, we focus in on North American Indigenous stories. There's 8 tales in this volume, with stories from the Odawa, Chickasaw, Métis, Cree, Ojibwe, Navajo, and S'kallam.
Stories are often cautionary tales, so a lot of these have a light horror bent. Not much death, but more just danger. The best done is "Into the Darkness," about two men who make the mistake of bringing up a creature best not discussed (and so much NOT to be discussed that it's name is censored in the text itself)...right before spending a night alone in a camper van.
For a not-scary pick, the first tale, "As It Was Told To Me," is the Odawa creation story, as told at a Two-Spirit circle!
All stories are done in greyscale, so if you've got a black-and-white e-reader, go right on ahead! You're all set!
Advanced review copy provided by the publisher.
Beautifully told stories and fantastic graphic novel artwork. Informative and culturally a very important contribution to young readers First Nation/Indigenous literature.
ARC was given by NetGalley & Iron Circus Comics in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published after the release date (April 5th, 2022)
My heart, my freaking heart is so damn full right now! There aren’t enough words to convey how happy I am to have an arc of this graphic novel anthology right now. I ended up missing out on requesting an arc for this anthology and had it wish-listed, and as fate would have it, while on vacation I was surprised with this sliding into my library. If you haven’t heard me talk about how emotional I get every time I get a book by a Native/Indigenous author/s then here it is right here. I’m so emotional, so so grateful, and very privileged to have this right now.
As an Apache reader, book blogger, this anthology means the world to me just as all literature I receive by Native/Indigenous authors. If you would have told a very young, child Malli that I would be able to see more Indigenous people in literature that isn’t from a stereotypical lens and actually by Indigenous authors, I probably would have laughed and then broke down into sobs. Growing up as an urban Native and as someone who has spent years reconnecting with one’s heritage; you end up missing a lot of things, you can’t always go to PowWow, your elders aren’t always available to teach you, you have to devote large portions of time to learning your dialect (in my case, Eastern and Western Apache), and so on. So receiving this anthology, seeing stories I recognize, having heard these stories from my elders or others of my own age, it just means everything to me. It is everything.
As always for my anthology reviews, I have mini reviews for all the short stories where I talk about my thoughts, feelings, and include content/trigger warnings.
➸ As It Was Told To Me by Elijah Forbes (Odawa) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a story about creation and The Creator, and about life. This story had me super emotional because I couldn’t help thinking about a similar story I was told from my Auntie. It got me really emotional and soft thinking about her and when she told me about how creation was a sort of awakening, how Creator created other gods/deities, and the way everything came into being. Reading this story, I just felt instant connection and just reminded that even if the story is slightly different, all tribes are connected to each other because of a story like this one.
“They were the most sacred being, feminine and masculine. Not in parts, but both at the same time.”
➸ Chokfi by Jordaan Arledge & Mekala Nava (Chickasaw) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This story is about how animals became vain because of their coats. Chokfi being a very proud rabbit, became curious after hearing about Otter’s coat being the most beautiful and his plot to make Otter’s coat his. I think the Trickster stories are always my favorite stories to hear from my elders because each story is different depending on the tribe. For example, a lot of Apache trickster stories revolve around coyote (which I feel in modern day is used, along with foxes, as trickster icons). Look, I’m not saying I’m biased, but this was one of my favorite stories from this anthology.
➸ White Horse Plains by Rhael McGregor (Métis/Cree) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief mentions of starvation, brief scenes/mentions of violence, and brief scene of implied death
Honestly, this was the story that held my attention the most. This story revolves around the growing conflict between the Sioux & Assiniboine and the Cree. I find that so many stories in literature (in general) constantly revolve around the colonization and the wars that constantly broke out during that whole time period, but we never see the struggles and conflicts between different tribes very often. And for me, this story was the main reason this anthology caught my attention in the first place. I had only heard faint whispers about the White Horse Plains, but never had a chance to ask anyone about it or get the chance to research into the story itself to learn more. And this was both sad, tragic, but understandable and beautiful in some ways.
“It’s believed the spirit of the bride resides within him, helping steer those who are lost or misguided onto the right path so that they do not fall into a tragic fate.”
➸ The Rougarou Maija Ambrose Plamondon & Milo Applejohn (Métis) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Content/Trigger Warnings: Mentions of killing animals, mentions loss of loved one (in the past), grief
I think this one surprised me the most out of all these stories. The stories of the Rougarou are something that I’m very partial too and I guess in a way, I connected with this particular story on a very deep, emotional and personal level. This story is about a young child to encounters a Rougarou and befriends the Rougarou, and the story behind this child’s Rougarou friend. This story, though short, has beautiful themes and I cried reading this whole story. I think this is going to be my most loved and preferred story of the Rougarou thus far.
“You put yourself in potential danger because you could sense help was needed. Facing your fear is a great sign of bravery.”
➸ Agonjin In The Water by Alice RL (Ojibwe) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If there was ever a story to remind you of how sacred water is, let this one story be it. If you don’t know, water is very sacred to Native/Indigenous people especially the plains tribes because droughts can be intensely rough to get through. This story does a fantastic job of emphasizing the importance of water and also the importance of story telling. And the artwork really helped paint a vivid picture for the reader.
“I cherished these stories and would love to share them with others as I grew older. And as I grew older, the water, our source of life, began to change.”
➸ The Woman In The Woods by Mercedes Acosta (Taino) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Honestly, my breath hitched reading this story. For starters, this was my first time reading any story from the Indigenous people of the Caribbean. However, everything about this story was just so beautiful and the artwork really added to the beauty of this story. I wanted a few more pages of this story because I was just fully enthralled by everything, but I’ll settle for the few in this anthology. It was just so good and so breath-taking.
“Be careful of what you accept from spirits. Accepting their gifts binds you to them. Though some of us were never meant to be with anyone else.”
➸ Into The Darkness by Izzy Roberts & Aubrie Warner (Navajo) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If there was one story I wasn’t expecting to encounter, it was this short story right here. And I should have known from the synopsis of the book, too! However, I ignored my gut feeling and thought, “No, it wouldn’t possibly be…” and then it was. I bamboozled myself! But in all honesty, just the fact that I know what this story is about and how vividly remember my aunties and uncle telling me about this… Shivers and chills, down my spine. If you know, you know, and if you don’t then count your blessings.
➸ By The Light Of The Moon by Jeffrey Veregge & Alina Pete (S’Kallam) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Again, this seems like an obvious story I’d love, but any stories that revolve around the moon and I just immediately swoon. This story is about how the Moon fell in love with the Octopus Queen, and how some marine life became bioluminescence. I loved this story, from start to finish. I think starting the story from the perspective of two divers and concluding the way it did was chef’s kiss. This is definitely another favorite that now lives in my brain, rent free.
“Her movements were a ballet that spoke directly to the Moon’s soul.”
I gave The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories five stars overall, because out of the possible 40 stars (5 stars being possible for all 8 stories) this anthology accumulated 40 stars (100%)!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
This is an amazing comic anthology! All of the stories and artwork are very different but they compile well into one anthology about Native American Fables and Fairy Tales. I really like that the table of contents lists what tribe each story came from and that it includes a variety of nations. If I had to pick one favorite story, it would be <i>The Rougarou</i> but I enjoyed all of them and thought they were meaningful, insightful, and certainly worth reading!
I would recommend this short, easy-to-read anthology to anyone in American with an interest in knowing the culture and history of the country's first inhabitants as the stories we tell tell a lot about who we are as a people.
Thank you to #Netgalley for the ARC exchange for my honest review.
The Woman in the Woods and other North American stories, is a beautiful collection of Illustrated and diverse Legends of indigenous individuals. The stories and the art are phenomenal.
To say that everything that Iron Circus Comics does is gold doesn’t quite explain why I love their anthologies so much. This is the fifth of their Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales, and in this volume the stories are written by North American First Nations, Metis and Native Peoples based on stories they have heard, and want to pass down, or variations therein.
The Woman in the Woods has lovely stories, and scary stories, and stories that are so wonderful, with illustrations so fluid, such as the picture of the octopus woman dancing in the sunlight drifting down to her cave or the creator deciding to create life on earth, even though it will be good mixed with evil, or a mishipeshu, the guardian of lakes and rivers, or of a horse that was once human that gave it up for power.
Some are stories that are firmly in the past, some are contemporary, but all have elements of the stories passed down.
There are trickster rabbit stories. There are monsters that were once human, and there are tales of a ghost horse that along with the bride that bonded with it, helps those in need.
Wonderful collection. Highly recommend it, as I would all the other books in the series.
<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>