Written & Illustrated by: Kristina Rodanas
Published in 2003
Genre: Traditional Literature, Picture Book
Grade Level: K-3
Summary: The Blind Hunter is based on an African folktale, and all of the names come from the Shona language. One day Chirobo (a blind man known for his wisdom and kindness) meets a young hunter from another village. After spending the day speaking with Chirobo, the young man (Muteye) agrees to take him hunting. Along the way Chirobo teaches Muteye that he doesn’t need his eyes to see. Instead, he sees through his ears, nose, skin, and at the end: his heart.
Cover/Illustrations: The illustrations in this book are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the style of the people and animals, which appeared very realistic. My favorite pages were those which had a single large picture stretching over both of the facing pages, with the text strategically placed in an area where the colors were lighter. Most of the book was spaced appropriately, but there were a few pages with a lot of white space.
The Good: Yay! A multicultural book!! The Blind Hunter is a great culturally sensitive book that seems to have been well researched (in terms of appropriate illustrations). Kristina Rodanas is a white girl from New Hampshire, but she is known for her multicultural books (particularly those based around Native Americans).
Multiculturalism aside, this is a great book for other reasons as well. It carries the message that forgiveness is important, and it also opens the door to discussion about handicaps and how they don’t have to limit us. In this story, Chirobo is able to do many things despite the fact that he is blind. He is also well respected in his village.
The Bad: One thing that I would change about this book is how the ending is worded. Towards the end of the book, Muteye lies to Chirobo about the birds they caught, and Chirobo calls him out on it. Muteye asks how he could be forgiven, and Chirobo says that he must learn to see through his heart. The way this was worded really confused me at first, so I would have liked the book better if the ending was written a bit more clearly. Other than that, this is an excellent book.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, and I can see myself using it in my classroom. It’s a good book both because it is multicultural and because it would be a good way to facilitate a discussion about people with handicaps.
I give The Blind Hunter five stars!