A fable with an ancient feel, this story of a plucky spider and her tiny bird companion rests comfortably in the story-telling tradition of Native American peoples.
Tallulah is unusual in a number of ways. Born last and alone after her many siblings had already left the cocoon of the Mother Spider, she is not black but white “with golden eyes and soft golden hair on her long slender legs.” Then, instead of hustling off like the others to explore the wide world, she decides to make her home in the old barn where she was born. She soon befriends a horse named Buck, who gives her the name Tallulah. Buck is the Keeper of the Meadow, and he and Tallulah become great friends. But one day, Buck falls ill and it will be up to Tallulah to save him, and by saving him, to save the meadows that are dying without his daily grazing visits.
Fortunately, she meets another friend who can assist her on her mission, a tiny bird stuck in a web in the rafters. He will help her get to the Old Forest and the home of the Great Grandmother Tree. Tallulah has always longed to fly, and the bird teaches her how to harness her web to make a flying craft. Together they find the Great Grandmother Tree, where the Great Grandmother herself, recognizing Tallulah’s talent and persistence, instructs her in how to save Buck.
This is a book for children that people of all ages can appreciate for its multi-layered charms. There are simple but endearing pen and ink illustrations, and every chapter begins with a quotation from Native American lore, such as this, from the Wisdom of the Elders: “We are each a thread in the web of life, strengthened by the promise of our dreams.” The story itself has many symbols and harks back to a simpler time when children learned such natural but surprisingly mature themes from their elders. Tallulah embodies many admirable qualities, making her a role model of bravery and persistence, while Buck and the bird represent friendship and loyalty. The book offers a small list of Lakota words interspersed in the narrative. Thus, it offers many ways to learn.
Gloria Two-Feathers comes from a combined Scottish and Native American heritage and studied extensively with a Lakota elder. Story-telling springs naturally from her background, allowing her to create, in Tallulah’s Flying Adventure, a tale ideal for reading aloud and sure to engage the reader as much as the listener.