Iktomi is the ”trickster,” the mythical character used by Plains Indian storytellers to embody the foibles of wiliness, conceit, and impetuousness.
Iktomi and the Ducks is Paul Goble’s third brilliantly colored Iktomi tale, and it’s a dazzler: The illustrations have never been bolder or more zestfully inventive, and the tale itself is told with the high humor and playfulness it deserves.
Iktomi, splendidly dressed in his most glorious clothing, is out to impress the girls by riding in a parade. On the way, he’s sidetracked by a yen to capture and roast some wild ducks. Sure enough, he tricks the ducks, but before he can enjoy his feast, he himself is outfoxed by a coyote.
This story is a riot to read aloud because Goble has wittily incorporated into the text the kind of byplay and kibbitzer’s remarks that would be heard at a real tale-telling. Skeptical and teasing responses from the listeners are printed in a different color of ink, and Iktomi’s thoughts are spelled out in the illustrations. It’s a multilevel, multicultural, multi-enjoyable romp — and it has the added virtue of admitting, accepting, and laughing at the greedy little trickster in all of us.A+