Book of the Week: Kali’s Song

Kali’s Song by Jeanette Winter

Published: 2012 by Schwartz & Wade

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I love how this book is set in prehistoric times, back when giant-sized dinos roamed the Earth, yet there are no dinos to be found within this story.

I like how instead of focusing on dinosaurs (which a lot of picture books – great picture books – do) it focuses on other animals of the time. For example, the Wooly Mammoth.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I love end papers. I really love the end papers of this book, they depict all the hills and valleys in which Kali lives.

I think this book shows how parents have expectations of their children, and children in turn try to live up to those expectations. But also shows that parents will love their children whether or not expectations are met. In Kali’s case, he’s expected to hunt, but even though he tries, he just can’t bring himself to do that.

Kali’s a musician.

I love how this book felt like a history lesson. It didn’t discuss, but depicted cave drawings, how they survived off the land and animals, even who shaman’s are and do.

Kali is ingenious. I love how he turns his bow into an instrument to kill into an instrument of music, to bring joy to not only himself, his family, but also to the animals and stars.

I think this book shows the fear of not living up to what is expected of you too. For example, on the day of the big hunt, readers will sense that Kali was scared.

I love the colors used to illustrate this book. They are all earth toned colors – greyish blue, soft greens, grainy browns, etc..

I love the illustrations. They are simple, yet intricate.

As I was reading this I felt like there was a history lesson to be learned.

I love how the book chronicles Kali – from a small boy getting ready to go on his first hunt to an elderly shaman who still loves to make music on his bow – for him and the stars. I think this shows progression, and natural evolution.

I feel like this book also, not in so many words or illustrations, shows the circle of life.

I also liked how when Kali’s father and hunting buddies heard him playing the bow, and seeing how the animals responded, that they were all mystified. And that they saw the animals as more than just objects to be hunted.

I loved how Kali’s mother, a cave artist, works Kali and his musical bow into her paintings. I also liked how the author made sure to mention that the paints were “colors from the earth.”

At one point towards the end of the book Kali is shown, as a grown man, in full shaman wear. I think this illustrations the importance of believe and customs.

I love how when the book is completely open, it depicts Kali playing his bow to a full-sized wooly mammoth.

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