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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - MCBD 2021 Review of Lump Lump and the Blanket of Dreams #ReadYourWorld

Today, I have a special book review, as part of the Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021. (

I hope that you enjoy a look at a beautiful Navajo/Diné folktale.

Lump Lump and the Blanket of Dreams: Inspired by Navajo Culture and Folklore

Author: Gwen Jackson

Illustrator: Lissa Calvert

Publisher: FriesenPress 2016

Ages: 8-11



Folktales, diversity, Navajo/Diné culture, weaving, kindness, friendship, and animals.


Winter is coming, but the little black bear, Lump Lump, isn't ready to go to sleep! With the help of his mother, the wise Blue Bird, and his forest friends, Lump Lump gathers materials for Spider Woman to weave him a blanket of dreams. Inspired by Navajo/Diné culture and folklore, and featuring the work of famed weaver Barbara Teller Ornelas, this beautiful tale of family and friends takes the reader on a journey through the rich traditions and spectacular landscapes of the Southwest....

Opening Lines:

Once in a forest was a fir tree. At the top of the fir tree was a little hole, and there lived Blue Bird.

In the ground below the fir tree was a big hole, and there lived Blue Bird's best friends, Mother Bear and her little bear, Lump Lump.

At dawn, Blue Bird sang the colors of the forest through the morning mist, and she awakened each day with gladness:

Awake in beauty!

Awake in Beauty!

Today we will live in beauty!

What I Liked about this book:

When Lump Lump fusses over the idea of sleeping all winter, Blue Bird sings him a song about a blanket of dreams. He sets out to find - the white light of morning, the red light of evening, the falling rain, and a rainbow while Blue Bird sets out to find a special weaver.

As Lump Lump and his mother discover friends who can help gather these special items, they praise their strengths and offer gifts of thanks. To Robin ("a good flyer"), who snags "a piece of the white light of morning," they offer grass for her nest.

Text © Gwen Jackson, 2016. Image © Lissa Calvert, 2016.

To Hawk ("a good hunter"), who captures "a piece of the red light of evening," they offer a pile of leaves for his nest. Finally, one fall day, using a "net of twilight," Lump Lump gathers falling rain. However, the last ingredient, the rainbow, remains elusive. He looks "into every hole," up trees, and even "grope[s] under bushes." But no rainbow. When they finally find one, their praise of Fox's cleverness, encourages him to snatch a piece of the rainbow. Upon his return, the bears surprise him with a den they dug for him.

Text © Gwen Jackson, 2016. Image © Lissa Calvert, 2016.

When everything is gathered, Blue Bird takes them to meet Spider Woman, the one who taught the Navajo/Diné how to weave. Lissa Calvert's spreads of Spider Woman, her loom, and the blanket (an actual Navajo pattern) - as well as the ending spread accompanying the back matter and dedication, are absolutely gorgeous in their detail and capture of the southwestern desert.

This book is not only an intriguing introduction to Navajo/Diné folklore, but a wonderful book on cooperation, friendship, caring, and generosity.


- read other books about Navajo and weavers - The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola, Hawk, I'm Your Brother by Byrd Baylor, illus. by Peter Parnall, The Magic of Spider Woman by Lois Duncan, illus. Shonto Begay, and How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend by Jerrie Oughton, illus. by Lisa Desimini.

- check out Gwen's resources for more books and curricular extension ideas. including a number of coloring books on Navajo art and weaving (


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell, Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The PagePublishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sissy Goes Tiny by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series.

For more details and resources for teachers and parents, please visit


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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