Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos Review 

Synopsis from Arbordale Publishing:

Long ago, the Old Ones were bad. They drank all the water, ate all the pine nuts, and left nothing for the other creatures. Sinawav the coyote punished them by turning them into rocky hoodoos. Now when children misbehave, their Paiute elders remind them that they too could be turned into stone columns! Vivian has heard the stories, but this year as she and her grandmother climb the mesa to pick pine nuts, Vivian has something more important on her mind: basketball tryouts. When Vivian is disrespectful to the trees and the land, her grandmother must remind Vivian of the legend of the hoodoos and how nature has made it possible for her people to live.

This fictional story includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The enhanced ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension.

About: Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos is a children’s fiction picture book written by Terry Catasús Jennings and illustrated by Phyllis Saroff. It was recently released for sale on 2/10/17 by Arbordale Publishing, 32 pages. This book is intended for kids ages 4-8. Arbordale Publishing’s mission is to inspire the love of reading and improve young children’s science and math skills through picture books. These books will captivate your kids’ minds on your lap, at bedtime, or in the classroom. Please see below for more info about the author.

My Experience: I started reading Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos on 2/11/17 as a bedtime story for my 5 year-old son and we finished it that same night. We have never heard of the legend of the hoodoos before or the term Hoodoo and it’s a learning experience for both my son and I. The story follows Vivian and her grandma climbing up the mesa to harvest pine nuts for the winter. Grandma reminding Vivian to ask the trees’ permission before picking its fruits. There is a legend that Grandma often tells Vivian about the Old Ones, who ate everything in their path and not save it for others and they were invited to attend a feast but instead got tricked and punished into rocky hoodoos.

This book and the story of the legend of Hoodoos is fiction. Grandma and Vivian are people of Paiute culture. They live in the high desert and stayed on mesas, plateaus, and mountains. They live dependent on the land, animals, and fruit trees. Grandma teaches Vivian to respect the land and to leave things where it is, such as pottery sherd because things from long ago are sacred. The back of the book gives us facts about the Paiutes culture and further details of the history of the people. I also like the detail explanation about what Hoodoo really mean and how water shapes the rock. I was a bit confused reading this story because I don’t know if the story of Paiute people is in the current day (2017) or in the 1800s. I was only clear of what the story is about after I read the facts at the end of the book.

Pro: hoodoo, respect the land, Paiute culture, canyon, history, erosion, legends

Con: the story should indicate what year the story is based in

I rate it 5 stars!

Grab yourself a copy here: Arbordale Website or Book Depository

About the Author:


Terry Catasús Jennings has won several prestigious children’s book awards, including NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book, NSTA Recommended, and Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year. In addition to Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos, Terry has written Magnetic Magic, Gopher to the Rescue, and Sounds of the Savanna with Arbordale. Her middle-grade book, The Women’s Liberation Movement, 1960-1990 was listed in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2014-2015 List. Terry has been a contributor for the Smithsonian’s Science Education Center books. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Long Island News Day, and Ranger Rick. Terry is an active member of The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC and SCBWI. She and her husband live in northern Virginia and spend their winters in southern Utah. Visit her website at (Info obtained from Arbordale Publishing).

More Information about Arbordale Publishing:

Phone: 877-243-3457 | Fax: 843-216-3457 | Email: | Web: | Hardcover, Paperback, Spanish Paperback, and downloadable ebooks are available.

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Arbordale Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.


12 thoughts on “Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos Review 

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    You bring up a great point about not knowing if this is present day or not. That’s important if only to help younger audiences get some context. It’s strange that context was not addressed in the book’s text itself. But I’m glad this book taught you and your son something new!

    Did you explore the online teaching guide at all?

    Liked by 1 person

Please share my reviews :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.