American Indians •  Children and Folklore

$16.95 hardcover

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How Rabbit Lost His Tail: A Traditional Cherokee Legend

Deborah L. Duvall
Illustrated by Murv Jacob

Rabbit, whose Cherokee name is Ji-Stu, is known far and wide for his splendid tail. Long and bushy, and covered with thick, silky fur, he likes to show his tail off at the dances. All the girl animals want to dance with Ji-Stu because of his beautiful tail. But one night Otter comes to the dance, and both Ji-Stu and his tail are quickly forgotten when the girls see Otter's magnificent coat.
Impressed by Otter, all the animals plan a council to decide who, of all the animals in the forest, owns the most beautiful coat. Now Ji-Stu must find a way to trick Otter out of his coat in time to win the contest, but in the process the trickster rabbit loses much more than he bargains for.

Deborah L. Duvall and Murv Jacob also collaborated on The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals and How Medicine Came to the People (UNM Press). Duvall is the author of several books on Cherokee history and legend. Jacob, a descendant of Kentucky Cherokees, is an internationally known artist and pipemaker who has also worked on over 70 book and video projects. Jacob won the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award in the Design and Illustration category for his drawings in The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals.

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All ages.


Murv Jacob, a descendant of Kentucky Cherokees, is an internationally known artist whose illustrations appear in over seventy book and video projects. He won the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award for Design and Illustration for his drawings in The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals.

Deborah L. Duvall is an author of books and short stories on Cherokee history and tradition, a singer-songwriter, and a professional in financial management. She was born and continues to live in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, capital of the Cherokee Nation.


"The story is propelled forward not only by the action but by the emotions of the animal characters: readers will understand the rabbit's pride, his envy, and his desire to win, even as they recognize that his deception cannot possibly succeed. . . . Folkloric justice reigns here, and in the end, all is as it should be."


Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

". . .an appealing story of trickster Rabbit."


Storytelling Magazine

"This is a delightful retelling of a Cherokee legend explaining how the rabbit lost his long, luxurious tail and how the otter became sleek and learned to love swimming. It also teaches valuable lessons about pride, deceit, and justice. The story is told in language simple enough for young independent readers, but would make an entertaining read aloud as well. The beautifully detailed black-and-white illustrations capture the essence of the story and set the scene for the traditional tale."


Journal of the Association for Childhood Education International

"The story is sweet with an encouraging message, and the pen-and-ink illustrations by Duvall's partner, Murv Jacob, are richly detailed yet playful. How Rabbit Lost His Tail is a delightful book for children of all ages."


The Bloomsbury Review

8.5 x 10 in. 32 pages 23 drawings