WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR MOCCASINS?
Bernelda Wheeler. Illustrated by Herman Bekkering.
Volume 15 Number 4
Just over 200 words in twenty pages tell the story, assisted by black-and-white shaded drawings that cover every page. Jody is in a multi-ethnic class in a city school and he tells his classmates and teacher exactly where his moccasins came from: "My dad shot the deer, my Kookum (grandmother) washed and scraped and pulled and smoked the deer hide," and so forth. However, there is laughter in Jody's eyes as he answers the question, "Where did your Kookum get the beads for the beadwork?" and he replies, "From the store." There is hardly an adjective in the simple, straightforward question and answer format. The native child is obviously well integrated into the urban classroom, and his "show and tell" is of great interest to his classmates.Bernelda Wheeler's voice is familiar from the CBC radio program Our Native Land. The author presently lives and works in Yellowknife. This book was written at a native writers workshop in Manitoba and was then published with financial help from Manitoba Education. The illustrator is Herman Bekkering, a freelance illustrator from Winnipeg. Pemmican has now done more than a dozen children's books, including Murdo's Story ¹, the 1985 winner of the Canada Council award for illustration. This slim volume is a stapled paperback (8 1/2 x 11 inches) with a heavy paper cover. The print is fairly large and somehow the illustrations are overwhelmingly large. Perhaps it is just that they are larger than is usual; on several pages, one face almost fills a page. The book would certainly be useful in a large group story session because of the visibility of the illustrations. An interesting feature is the illustrator's attempt to show us two times and places in one picture. On several pages, we see the city children in the foreground coming to the school and starting their day, and we also see Jody's Kookum or the deer, the topics of Jody's conversation. Useful in libraries that need simple materials on our native culture.
Margaret Montgomery, West Vernon Elementary, Vernon, BC.
¹ Reviewed vol. XIV/I Jan. 1986, p.26.
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