The 1975 Caldecott Medal winner for illustration, Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott is of course a classic and certainly my two cents will not add anything new to the analysis of the book. So how did it come to make the book review section? Any Beyond the Car Seat reader knows the simple answer. A staple of seventies and early eighties school curriculums, Arrow to the Sun makes an ideal choice for LTD to relive my childhood for me. The narrative is straightforward, a boy, born from the sun, sets out to find his father. After a series of tests he proves himself worthy. The book is based on a Pueblo Indian tale, but some disagree with McDermott’s interpretation and use of Indian folklore. However, for me I love the bold tribal inspired art.
I mean what kid can’t get into being turned into an arrow and being launched into the sun and then fighting different creatures. I leave it up to you to deal with any controversy surrounding the co-opting of Indian culture into the popular vernacular, but my hunch is once you go down that road you will have to explain the Trail of Tears to your kid. I suggest enjoying the book and use the old stand by answer of ‘you have to look at it in the context of the times when it was made.”