Twins Jamie and Marie Longbow are excited about summer with their grandparents, traveling from powwow to powwow selling goods they helped to make. When their grandmother’s most beautiful necklace goes missing, it’s up to the twins to solve the mystery.
Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2019
Author & Illustrator
I’m a writer and traditional storyteller. An enrolled member of the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation, I’ve performed as a storyteller and sold books and my own crafts at northeastern powwows since the early 1980s. My family and I run the annual Saratoga Native American Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York. One of my favorite powwow memories is when I was honored with a blanket at the Shelburne Museum powwow in Vermont twenty years ago.
I was born in Tuba City, Arizona, but raised on the Navajo Reservation in northwestern New Mexico. My mother says I’ve been an illustrator since I was able to hold a crayon. I used to lie on my back and draw pictures under the coffee table in my parents’ living room. Apart from being an illustrator, I’m a storyteller, graphic designer, and musician. I reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and am a happily married father of two. Anything and everything I do, I do for my loved ones. The ultimate goal of my career is to do what I do, from the comfort of my home. Several of the characters depicted in this adorable story were inspired by loved ones in my own life, namely my mother, sister, and brother.
Marie Longbow and her twin brother Jamie accompany their grandparents to a powwow to sell jewelry and regalia. After the family returns from participating in the Friendship dance, they find that Grama’s best piece of jewelry is missing. Using both brains and brawn, the twins track down a surprising thief. The cartoonish drawings have a pop art feel with bright colors, and comic panels are incorporated into the single- and double-page illustrations. A variety of regalia is depicted on the dancers and drummers. Speech bubbles are used for some of the text to emphasis parts of the conversations. Native American terms are sprinkled into the narrative along with descriptions of powwow activities. The book is divided into short chapters, creating a sort of picture book/graphic novel hybrid, which should appeal to emerging and/or reluctant readers. VERDICT This beginning mystery with a Native American focus is a good general purchase, and creates a useful transition from picture books to chapter books or graphic novels for younger readers.
—School Library Journal Reviewer
This early chapter book with a picture book trim size, the first installment of the Powwow Mystery Series, features twins Jamie and Marie Longbow, who are traveling to powwows this summer with their grandparents to sell Grama’s wares. Jamie excels at tree climbing, while Marie loves to read and memorize facts about birds. When Grama’s best necklace is stolen at the Little Eagle powwow grounds, the first powwow they visit, it’s up to the twins and their respective talents to help solve the case. Bruchac (Brothers of the Buffalo), an enrolled member of the Nulhegan Bank of the Abenaki nation, offers a well-paced introduction of the characters and elements of the powwow over the four chapters. While the foreshadowing may be a bit transparent (“ ‘It’s okay,’ Grampa said as he danced past them. ‘Sleepy Mickey is watching the booth.’ ”), the identity of the thief and the resolution still prove satisfying. Deforest, who was raised on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, contributes boldly outlined and brightly colored digital illustrations in an accessible comic-book style that will likely entice reluctant readers.