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Muskrat and Skunk / Sinkpe na Maka

A Lakota Drum Story

Muskrat and Skunk / Sinkpe na Maka


$19.95, Hardback
ISBN: 9781941813164

"Muskrat and Skunk will transfix young readers and listeners, and egage them in making the thumpbonkbam, and boom sounds along with the story as they learn about Lakota traditions. . . . The Lakota translation by Agnes Gay enriches this tale of the drum's origin and its meaning to Lakota culture."—Terri Davis, Great Plains Quarterly, Winter 2019

"Wonderfully charming entertainment from cover to cover, [and] . . . unreservedly recommended."—Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch, January 2018


Animals stop and listen. A new sound is in the forest. The beat vibrates through the trees and across the meadows. What is it? Where is it coming from?

Muskrat and Skunk thump on a hollow log—BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Birds begin to dance. Buffalo and Antelope join in. There is a rustle in the bushes; a large shape emerges. The animals scatter. Muskrat and Skunk drum on.

The story of the drum connects the instrument’s sound to the heartbeat of Mother Earth—a beat inside all of us. For the Lakota people, the drum is more than something to be played. Its rhythm is felt, and it is central to many ceremonies.

Donald F. Montileaux retells the origins of the drum, using traditional stories that Lakota people still tell today. His colorful images breathe life into Muskrat and Skunk, enhancing our understanding of the Lakota culture. 

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