Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Written in English and Cree, this second book in Highway's Magical Songs of the North trilogy, first published in Canada in 2002, gains new artwork from Flett (Wild Berries). The story follows brothers Joe and Cody as they play games along a Manitoba lakeshore, where they spend summers in a tent with their mother, father, and dog, Ootsie, "who was almost a person." Much of the boys' activity revolves around creating names and stories for various objects and animals they discover, but their favorite game involves gently tying strings around dragonflies, turning them into living kites. Although that particular "game" may give some children and adults pause, Highway's matter-of-fact text and Flett's crisp, gently textured forms create a loving portrait of a family in communion with their environment. Ages 6-up. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A bilingual English/Cree picture book describes the lakeside summer idylls of brothers Joe and Cody. Living with their parents in a tent on the shores of Manitoba's northern lakes, the First Nations boys have little human company, but they are far from alone. There's Ootsie, the little dog "who was almost a person," and the sticks and rocks they name and play with. They make temporary pets of wildlife, too: Arctic tern, loon, and eagle chicks, along with "the squirrels and the rabbits and the chipmunks that ate from their hands"; each creature is carefully named, sometimes with an English name and sometimes with a Cree one. Highway's text is spare and declarative, carefully isolating child-friendly details that brim with gentle humor. One eagle chick is named "Migisoo, which means eagle' in Cree," while the other is "named Wagisoo, which doesn't mean anything but rhymes with Migisoo." Flett's equally spare signature style is a perfect match, placing black-haired, brown-skinned boys in shorts and Chucks against dark green grass and chilly-looking blue water. The titular kites are the boys' "favourite pets": dragonflies with long pieces of thread tied "gently around the middle of each." They run along with the dragonflies before letting them go over the lake. The English text is printed in black, with the Cree text printed in brick-red beneath it; both are by Highway himself. At once a celebration of heritage, the wilderness, and imagination, this book is a breath of fresh northern air. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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