The Boy & His Mud Horses (ISBN 978-1-935493-11-2) by Paul Goble on

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Home > Children's Books > The Boy & His Mud Horses

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The Boy & His Mud Horses
compiled and illustrated by: Paul Goble
foreword by: Albert White Hat Sr.
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level  / Lexile:

American Indian Mythology or Legend

6 and up / 5 / Lexile measure: 890L

Format: Size / page count:


7.125" × 10.25" / 48 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now




Beautifully illustrated by award-winning author Paul Goble, The Boy & His Mud Horses features a collection of 27 traditional stories from different Native American tribes, including the Pawnee, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and Lakota. A foreword by Albert White Hat, Sr., a nationally respected Lakota leader and linguist, is also included.

“Imagine that you are sitting on buffalo robes in the tipi, with the fire at the center casting flickering shadows on the painted lining behind you. Someone places a glowing coal in front of the storyteller. He rubs his hands in the smoke, and passing them over his head and body, he purifies himself. The Star People looking down through the smoke hole will be witness to the truth of the stories he will tell.…” This powerful imagery begins Paul Goble’s new masterpiece, The Boy & His Mud Horses. Readers young and old will delight to learn how the Cheyenne began to hunt buffalo; how the Blackfoot made peace with the Shoshone; and the cautionary tale of the man who betrayed his wife. These traditional stories from many different Native American tribes, including the Pawnee, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and Lakota, are all masterfully brought to life by Goble’s award-winning illustrations.


  • Winner in the “Children's Mind/Body/Spirit” category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, sponsored by USA Book News


“Goble is both the author and illustrator of this heavily researched book of short stories from the Plains Indian People…. None of the 27 stories are longer than two pages and the Central Plains tribes are well represented. A cautionary note—in our busy world, it is easy to take these amazing illustrations for granted. Slow down! Feast on the rock formations, the insects, the flowers, the birds, and my favorite—the cool, crisp, star filled skies.”
Peter Durkin, from a review in Whispering Winds
“In this lovely book, Caldecott winner Paul Goble retells and illustrates twenty-seven traditional stories and songs from several Native American tribes. A foreword by Albert White Hat, a linguist and tribal leader, introduces the multi-layered nature and traditional uses and pleasures of these stories, and honors Goble for his work in preserving Indian culture. A short introduction by the author explains how he has tried to bridge the gap between the vigor of oral storytelling and the demands of the printed page. The result is a series of stories, gracefully told and adapted to the page, and illustrated with bold and intricate images. This is a book for all ages, to return to again and again for joy and reflection, much as one might hear something new each time a traditional tale is told.”
ForeWord Book Reviews
“(Grade 4–6.) Goble casts a wide net in exploring Native American legends of diverse peoples of the Great Plains. More than two dozen short tales and poetic bits come from oral traditions of the Blackfoot, Lakota, Cheyenne, and other Indian nations. Many reflect the multifaceted importance of the buffalo in these cultures, and of horses, snakes, and other animals as well. There are creation tales, nursery stories, and episodes of enmity among the peoples, too. Goble's introduction and the foreword by Lakota linguist Albert White Hat both advise the need to listen to the simple stories several times to grasp their full meaning. Goble admits to shortening and reworking the tales, but the tellings seem less fictionalized and closer to their traditional style than the longer renderings in his many single-volume stories. All are set among the artist's handsomely configured signature paintings. Sources for individual pieces are not attributed, but the book closes with an impressive compendium of scholarly sources and collections ‘mostly recorded during the period 1890–1920.’ Storytellers, teachers, and children will find tantalizing bits here…”
Margaret Bush (Simmons College, Boston), writing in School Library Journal
The Boy and His Mud Horses is the stunning new release of a collection of over 25 traditional stories or songs from Native American tribes including the Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Lakota, Shoshone, Navajo, Mandan, Arikara, Pawnee, Dakota, Assiniboine, Osage, and many nations. Star-studded with over 40 color paintings by Caldecott medal winning artist Paul Goble, The Boy and His Mud Horses presents tribal/cultural traditional tales in a tipi, round the campfire, story-telling style. Many different nations' tales are included, each respectfully presented to the reader in its own clear voice. A fascinating foreword by noted Lakota linguist/educator Albert White Hat, Sr. adds to the authenticity of the collection's tone. The Boy and His Mud Horses contains many excellent lessons and teaching tales for young readers of all ages and backgrounds.”
Midwest Book Review
“…These stories have a lyrical quality that is reminiscent of the oral tradition from which they come so they are an ideal read aloud. The distinctive Goble illustrations evoke Native American art. After reading these stories, as a reading activity, students could write an essay or make up a story about becoming an animal of their choice and what lesson they learned from that animal. Young readers themselves are fascinated with stories of magic so these gentle stories of mysticism could inspire them even more to dream.”
Risa Brown from a review on the website 3rd Grade Reading (click here to read the entire review)

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