The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer - James Endredy
The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a colorful picture book by James Endredy which tells the enchanting story of Tunuri and his journey with Blue Deer. Tunuri, an inquistive and adventurous Huichol youth, is making a trip to the sacred mountain with the families of his village. A beautiful butterfly catches his attention, and he follows it over many hills and through the forest. Tunuri looks around and realizes that he couldn't see or hear anyone. He is lost.

Something catches Tunuri's eye, and he notices a unusual deer walking toward him which seemed to glow from inside. He knew that this deer was no ordinary animal--the coat was a lovely deep blue color! Magical Blue Deer introduces itself, and tells Tunuri that it knows where his family is. He beckons Tunuri to follow, and wherever the deer stepped, colorful flowers began to grow. Blue Deer leads Tunuri on a journey where he meets Father Sun, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Mother Earth, and Grandfather Fire. Grandfather Fire assures Tunuri that he is never truly alone, even if lost, and gives Tunuri a special task: to share all that he had learned that day with everyone he knows and meets.

The Huichol Indians are among the last of the world's indigenous cultures that have been able to maintain their way of life and spiritual traditions into this new millenium. They live in remote regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains of western Mexico, and although some communities can be reached by car, many of them are still isolated by mountainous terrain. The Huichol have a rich, nature-based spiritual tradition, and The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a modern adaptation of one of their traditional stories. Two of the most important elements of the Huichol spiritual tradition is the sacred Blue Deer and the sacred cactus, hikuri, and this book reflects the teaching of how a boy or girl finds his or her task in life by connecting with the powers of nature through their help.

Each page of this captivating book is filled with full-color pictures of yarn drawings made by Maria and Casimiro, two Huichol artists. This unique art form is made by spreading bees wax on a piece of wood, and then placing many colors of yarn in intricate patterns. Each drawing takes many hours to complete, requiring enormous amounts of patience, skill, and artistic vision. Maria and Caismiro teach this special technique to younger members of the Huichol community to keep this artistic tradition alive.

In addition to the inspiring tale and gorgeous yarn art, this book also contains information about the Huichol, their sacred symbols, and how each yarn drawing for the book was made.

This book is great for younger children because the colorful pictures and lyrical prose will hold their attention. The vibrant art work and unfolding mystery of Tunuri's journey will captivate older children, as well. The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer would make a wonderful addition to any library, especially for learning about contemporary indigenous culture and nature-based spirituality. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it inspiring and comforting.

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