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Diane Brookes

Waterloo (Ont.), Prenumbra Press, 1990. 24pp, paper, $8.95
ISBN 0-921254-20-2

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8
Reviewed by Adele Ashby.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

The author/illustrator, an artist now living in the Northwest Territories, has created a quadrilingual counting book. Wall hangings based on Inuit techniques of simple figures cut from felt have been photographed and paired with text in French, English, Inuktitut, the dialect of the eastern Inuit, and Inuinnaqtun, the dialect of the central Inuit. In her introduction, Brookes states that the book "grew out of [her] desire to make an elementary counting book for a new niece and [her] love of the Christian theme of passing the Lord's peace through touch."

Each double-page spread consists of the number as an Arabic numeral and as written in the four languages on one page, and on the other, an illustration showing a group of ten Inuit figures standing in a circle against a black background. In the first illustration, a dove appears in the corner with a heart in its mouth, and then the heart appears on the chest of one figure who is now set against a yellow background, and its hands are joined to the next person. As the numbers progress, so do the num­bers of hearts, the joined hands, and the yellow background, until at 10, all the figures are included.

I wonder whether children who are young enough to be interested in counting books will understand the symbolism in the illustrations without having it painfully explained to them. Nonetheless, Passing the Peace is a useful addition to our small collection of material on our northern native peoples.

Adele Ashby, Toronto, Ont.
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