World-renowned author and illustrator Paul Goble (All Our Relatives), winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award, has a message for young readers of his new book: "When I was your age my mother made me a small tipi and painted it with Native American symbols. It excited my interest, and made me want to know more. This book is the kind of book I began looking for, but never found. So I have made it for you." He has gathered together a treasure trove of information, stories, legends, and 150 full color drawings of the construction and art of tipis. Tradition among the Plains Indians has it that the shape of the rustling cottonwood tree gave the First Man and the First Woman the idea for this distinctive form of shelter.

"A beautiful tipi is like a good mother: she hugs her children and protects them from heat and cold, snow and rain," the Lakota are fond of saying. Tipis belonged to the women who chose where to camp, selected the site for the tipis and constructed them.

Flying Hawk, a Lakota, said: "The tipi is much better to live in; always clean, warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move. The white man builds big house, cost much money, like a big cage, shut out sun, can never move: always sick." Tipi doors face the East so that every morning the people awoke to see the Morning Star rising and witnessed the sun's rays through the smoke hole and door. A closed tipi door is the same as it being locked; visitors announced themselves with a cough or a tap. For many years, thievery was non-existent in the Indian community.

Black Elk said: "The Lakota loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. To sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly, and to see more clearly into the mysteries of life and to come into closer kinship with other living things." No wonder sitting in a tipi in silence or resting on the ground in sleep were so soothing.

Goble presents many examples of the art of tipis and the ways in which different tribes decorated these shelters. This is an absolutely gorgeous paperback filled with exquisite drawings and a deep respect for Native American beauty, meaning and reverence for the natural world.