The Wings of Iere
by Doris Harper-Wills
Trafford Publishing

"In the beginning, no one lived on the Earth. Everyone lived in the Land of Sky."

The Wings of Iere is really two books in one. The first is text: poems and stories of the legends and traditions of the Amerindians, accompanied by gorgeously colorful pictures which illuminate the text. The second book is a collection of song sheets, pictures, and workbook activities along with equally stunning drawings of humming birds and other images surrounding and supporting the text. The author took inspiration when noting the strikingly beautiful plumed costumes she saw during the Notting Hill Carnival celebration in London. The elaborately dressed dancers and their dance movements, backward and forward dance steps mimicking birds, she rechristened "iere," the Amerindian word for hummingbird.

As most fables and mythological tales contain similar fantasy imagery, the characters in these stories are people living with and among anthropomorphized natural elements and animals. Among these are the origins of the first people and how they came to Earth; the story of Raincloud and the explanation of precipitation and the Morning and Evening Stars; one of a half-vulture maiden who falls in love with a warrior; and the origin of Kaieteur Falls in Guyana. Even the Song of Christopher Columbus, an Old World figure, is included in this Amerindian collection. The writing is laced with Greco-Roman references, but the work retains the heart and flavor of the native, prehistoric Amerindian cultures. Charming and fun for children to read, and intriguing for adults to enjoy, Harper-Wills' stories buzz and fly around one's imagination. Much like the ieres central to the book, the stories delight, as if making music with their wings.

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