The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend

The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend

by John Steptoe

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Overview

"You will reach the far-off land if you keep hope alive within you." The words of Magic Frog give courage to the young mouse on his long and perilous journey to reach the wonderful land of legend. He faces many obstacles on his quest and sacrifices much to help others in need. But the mouse's compassion and faith in himself prove to be a source of great power...and bring him rewards even beyond his dreams.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688087401
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/26/1989
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 275,294
Product dimensions: 9.12(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Lexile: AD500L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

John Steptoe was born in Brooklyn. From early childhood, he drew pictures and told stories with them. He started work on Stevie, his first picture book, when he was sixteen, and Stevie was published three years later to outstanding critical acclaim. Since then, he has written and illustrated many successful books for children.

John Lewis Steptoe, creator of award-winning picture books for children, was born in Brooklyn on September 14, 1950 and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of that borough. He began drawing as a young child and received his formal art training at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. He was a student in the HARYOU-ACT Art Program and instructed by the highly recognized African American oil painter, Norman Lewis. He also studied at the Vermont Academy, where he was instructed by the sculptor, John Torres, and William Majors, a painter acclaimed by the Museum of Modem Art for his etchings and print-making.

His work first came to national attention in 1969 when his first book, Stevie, appeared in its entirety in Life magazine, hailed as "a new kind of book for black children." Mr. Steptoe, who had begun work on Stevie at the age of 16, was then 18 years old.

In his 20-year career, Mr. Steptoe illustrated 15 more picture books, ten of which he also wrote. The American Library Association named two of his books Caldecott Honor Books, a prestigious award for children's book illustration: The Story of Jumping Mouse in 1985 and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters in 1988. Mr. Steptoe twice received the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, for Mother Crocodile (text by Rosa Guy) in 1982, and for Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

While all of Mr. Steptoe's work deals with aspects of the African American experience, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough. Based on an African tale recorded in the 19th century, it required Mr. Steptoe for the first time to research African history and culture, awakening his pride in his African ancestry. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would lead children, especially African American children, to feel pride in their origins and in who they are. "I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people," he said, accepting the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, "I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from."

Mr. Steptoe frequently spoke to audiences of children and adults about his work. He was the 1989 winner of the Milner Award, voted by Atlanta schoolchildren for their favorite author.

John Steptoe died on August 28, 1989 at Saint Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, following a long illness. He was 38 years old and lived in Brooklyn. Mr. Steptoe was among the small handful of African American artists who have made a career in children's books.


John Steptoe was born in Brooklyn. From early childhood, he drew pictures and told stories with them. He started work on Stevie, his first picture book, when he was sixteen, and Stevie was published three years later to outstanding critical acclaim. Since then, he has written and illustrated many successful books for children.

John Lewis Steptoe, creator of award-winning picture books for children, was born in Brooklyn on September 14, 1950 and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of that borough. He began drawing as a young child and received his formal art training at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. He was a student in the HARYOU-ACT Art Program and instructed by the highly recognized African American oil painter, Norman Lewis. He also studied at the Vermont Academy, where he was instructed by the sculptor, John Torres, and William Majors, a painter acclaimed by the Museum of Modem Art for his etchings and print-making.

His work first came to national attention in 1969 when his first book, Stevie, appeared in its entirety in Life magazine, hailed as "a new kind of book for black children." Mr. Steptoe, who had begun work on Stevie at the age of 16, was then 18 years old.

In his 20-year career, Mr. Steptoe illustrated 15 more picture books, ten of which he also wrote. The American Library Association named two of his books Caldecott Honor Books, a prestigious award for children's book illustration: The Story of Jumping Mouse in 1985 and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters in 1988. Mr. Steptoe twice received the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, for Mother Crocodile (text by Rosa Guy) in 1982, and for Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

While all of Mr. Steptoe's work deals with aspects of the African American experience, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough. Based on an African tale recorded in the 19th century, it required Mr. Steptoe for the first time to research African history and culture, awakening his pride in his African ancestry. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would lead children, especially African American children, to feel pride in their origins and in who they are. "I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people," he said, accepting the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, "I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from."

Mr. Steptoe frequently spoke to audiences of children and adults about his work. He was the 1989 winner of the Milner Award, voted by Atlanta schoolchildren for their favorite author.

John Steptoe died on August 28, 1989 at Saint Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, following a long illness. He was 38 years old and lived in Brooklyn. Mr. Steptoe was among the small handful of African American artists who have made a career in children's books.

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Story of Jumping Mouse a Native American Legend 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
roethkegrrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Caldecott and ALA Notable Book selection is a retelling of a Native American legend, the story of a mouse who leaves his home to travel to a ¿far off land¿ and, through acts of selflessness, courage and determination, is turned into an eagle. The ¿old ones¿ who tell Jumping Mouse of the legendary far off place call to mind tribal elders and provide a sense of Native Americans¿ tradition of oral storytelling and valuing of legend. A number of images and elements common in Native American folklore can be found in Jumping Mouse, including the presence of magical elements and animal characters such as a bison, fox and eagle. Detailed pencil drawings create a backdrop of desert and plains landscapes, plant life and shadowy sky.Librarians could use this book in a number of ways. The illustrations and action in the story would lend themselves well to a story hour or other group reading activity. The tale could be used to introduce Native American folklore broadly or to focus on Plains Indian legends more specifically; this could be examined alone or in comparison to other cultural or spiritual traditions. Jumping Mouse¿s journey could also help to guide a discussion about character, friendship and the importance of determination in working toward goals or dreams. As a Caldecott honoree, it is also likely to count among ¿must-haves¿ for juvenile collections.
kdangleis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Story of Jumping Mouse is a Native American legend retold and illustrated by John Steptoe. This book is a Caldecott Honor Book as well as an ALA Notable Book. The detailed pencil drawings are of animal characters and environments in which they live. The amazing detail will keep even the youngest of readers enthralled, from the spider¿s web, to the insects on flowers, to each hair carefully shaded on the mouse¿s body.The grayscale drawings are not lacking because they aren¿t in color; even the dew on the leaves glistens! A little mouse journeys to the far-off land he hears the old mice talk about. His hope sustains him on his journey, along with some magical jumping powers a frog gives him at the beginning of his journey. The magical frog warns Jumping Mouse that he will face hardships, but if he keeps his hope alive, he will eventually reach his destination. Along the way, Jumping Mouse unselfishly gives up his sight to a blind bison and his sense of smell to a wolf, and it appears although he has reached his paradise destination, he won¿t be able to enjoy it because of what he has lost. All is not lost, though, because the magic frog shows up and rewards Jumping Mouse with a new form, that of an eagle. This is a lesson in perseverance and having hope, even when hard times ensue.
lpeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story of a mouse who dreams of going to a far off land. He starts on his way and he meets a frog named Magic Frog who helps him. He then meets different animals along the way. Some need help one needs eye sight, another needs to smell. Unselfishly, he gives his abilty to other. In the end he finds the place but doesn't know if he'll be able to mike it wothout his abilty to see or smell. Then magic frog appears ans says because he was unselfish he will always live abd was turned into an eagle. This was a very cute book that tied in NAtive American culture that children would enjoy. This is a great book that could be used during Native Ameircan culture week or month.
dangerlibearian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story but not for read aloud, too long. How jumping mouse gives away all his senses to other animals who need them, he is rewarded by being turned into an eagle.
EricaRodriguez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is a story about a mouse, who after hearing the tales about a far off land decides he wants to see it. He starts his journey and encounters many animals on the way including a magic frog, who gives him the name Jumping Mouse. This name is magical it gives him legs that enable him to travel long distances. On his journey to the far off land he runs into a bison and a wolf. The bison has been blinded by a poisoned pond. Jumping Mouse names him Eyes-Of-a-Mouse, in giving him this magical name he gives him his own sight. The bison is grateful to Jumping Mouse and guides him to the mountains. When Jumping Mouse reaches the mountains he encounters a wolf, who has lost his ability to smell. Jumping Mouse names him Nose-of-a-Mouse and gives him his ability to smell. The wolf is grateful and guides him to the far of land. When Jumping Mouse reaches the far off land he is not saddened by his inability to see or smell because he believes that he will find a way. He never lost hope or compassion for others and for this the magic frog gives him another gift. Magic frog changes him into an eagle, so that he can always see and smell the far off land. This story is one of inspiration, hope, compassion, and courage. It showed that no matter what size the creature is they still have an effect on the environment and the animals around them. Even the smallest creature can have the biggest heart. This book can be used in libraries to teach compassion for others and how selfless acts can lead to personal triumphs and experiences. It could be used in a story time that leads into a discussion of helping others and then possibly a team work activity.
alebarbu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Native American legend is retold and illustrated by John Steptoe. A mouse with great hopes sets off for the far-off land that he has heard so much about. On the way, he is helped by Magic Frog who names him Jumping Mouse, which gives him strong hind legs. He now advances more quickly, and encounters a blind bison to whom he gives his sight. Then, he encounters a wolf with no more sense of smell, and Jumping Mouse gives him his sense of smell. When he finally reaches the far-off land with the help of the healed bison and wolf, Jumping Mouse cannot see it or smell it. However, Magic Frog is not far, and rewards Jumping Mouse with the greatest gift of all: turning him into an eagle. Through this sweet story, children learn lessons of hope, compassion, and unselfishness, even in the face of adversity. Here, the transformation is from an animal to another animal. No human form is involved. This is definitely a reflection on the respect for all forms of life of traditional Native American peoples. The beautiful black and white drawings strikingly illustrate the story. John Steptoe is a master of light and shadows, so many of the illustrations have a negative picture-like quality to them. Ages 5 and up.
cnolasco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steptoe, J. (1984). The Story of Jumping Mouse. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.The Story of Jumping Mouse is John Steptoe's retelling of a classic Native American tale. In this tale a small mouse wants to travel to the "far-off land" that he has heard about from the old ones. He decides to travel alone even though he knows it will be a dangerous journey. On his way he meets Magic Frog who renames him Jumping Mouse and gives him the ability to jump very high. Throughout the rest of his journey he meets other animals who are in need of help and Jumping Mouse very selflessly helps each one until he has almost nothing left. This tale teaches that you can accomplish great things if you don't give up hope and also unselfish deeds can lead to great rewards. Steptoe also does the illustrations for the book. He uses what appears to be black colored pencils. I thought the story could have used a little color in the illustrations, but they are still effective and enjoyable to look at while reading.
Mluke04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is a legend because it has been told and retold over the years. This is a good example of characterization because during the journy the mouse must change. He is an example of a dynamic character. As the story progresses he becomes more self-sacrificing and this allows him to reach the far-off land.Media: Pencil