Lump Lump and the Blanket of Dreams: Inspired by Navajo Culture and Foklore
Lump Lump the bear cub doesn’t like the idea of sleeping through the long winter. Instead, he would much rather spend his days running through the forest and eating honey combs. However, he decides he might not mind hibernating as long as he can have a blanket of dreams. His good friend Blue Bird and his mother enlist the help of Robin, Hawk, and Fox to gather what is needed in order for Spider Woman–“the one who taught the Navajos/Diné, the best weavers, how to weave”–to weave him a blanket of dreams.
In Lump Lump and the Blanket of Dreams, author Gwen Jackson enlists the very capable help of many people. Illustrator Lissa Calvert creates images for the book that are truly captivating using a weaving by Barbara Teller Ornelas, a sixth-generation Navajo weaver whose works are displayed in both the Smithsonian and British Museums, among many other prestigious venues.
While her list of research partners is quite impressive, it is her love of Navajo culture and people which brings this beautiful picture book to life. The rhythmic language she uses to tell the story is at once stimulating and soothing. The song she weaves throughout the book, much as Spider Woman weaves the items from the net of twilight, creates a seamless tale full of important lessons.
There is no doubt in my mind that this beautiful and important book should (and will) become a classroom staple. There are far too few books that speak to Native American culture, and Jackson’s lovely contribution will find its place as not only a picture book to be read aloud to eager young students but also as a tool to explore other subjects such as science, art, language arts, and, perhaps most importantly, Native American studies.
After the first read, I have already compiled a long list of children with whom I cannot wait to share this lovely book.