Animals that Live on the
North American Prairie
The Little White Buffalo
Get to know Hŏpi, the little white buffalo, and his big brother, Ta-Tonka, in this endearing story for children ages 2 - 9. While seeking to make friends with a mountain goat, Hŏpi is separated from Ta-Tonka and faces danger. Hopi's adventure will help children absorb important lessons about the love between siblings and the importance of staying with the herd.
Terri Einer’s artwork captures Hŏpi’s playfulness and brings the book to life with her adorable illustrations of the North American prairies.
The names of the lead characters, Hŏpi and Ta-Tonka, are derived from the author’s background and experiences. Little Hŏpi is named after the city of Hopkins, Minnesota, where the author lives. The author has chosen to honor her husband's Native American heritage with the name of Hŏpi's big brother, Ta-Tonka. Ta-Tonka was chosen for this character's name because it is similar to Tatanka, a Lakota word meaning "Big Beast.”
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com. Choose from the printed or Kindle editions.
Author: Susan "Nana" Metoxen
Illustrator: Terri Einer
Editor: Tamara Uribe
Fun Facts About Buffalo
- American buffalo are actually bison. Early European settlers started calling the American bison "Buffalo", even though they are really bison.
- Baby buffalo are born a caramel color, and their fur darkens to a rich dark brown.
- Only 1 out of every 10 million buffalo are white. They means that Hŏpi is one in 10 million! She is very special.
- Some animals are born white, because they lack skin and hair colors, called pigments. You may see some white squirrels, and they are albino squirrels. Some buffalo are born white due to interbreeding with cattle.
- An estimated 35-70 million buffalo roamed on the great plains of North America before they were decimated by European settlers. So many were killed that there were only approximately 300 buffalo alive.
- Today there are buffalo herds in national and state parks, like Custer State Park. Custer State Park has 1,300 buffalo in its herd.
The Birth of a White Buffalo
Little Hŏpi is a the White Buffalo mascot of White Buffalo Kids. The Lakota, a Native American tribe, believe that the birth of a white buffalo, like Hŏpi, means that there will be a time of prosperity and peace. The Lakota people reside in present day North and South Dakota.
White Buffalo Calf Woman
The White Buffalo Calf Woman is a Lakota Native American legend. In a time of famine, two scouts looking for food saw a white cloud in the distance. The clouds fell away and they saw a beautiful woman. The woman explained that she had spiritual powers. She taught the Lakota sacred ceremonies to protect the Mother Earth.