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Edna King and Jordan Wheeler
Toronto, James Lorimer, 1991. 95pp, paper, ISBN 1-55028-133-X (paper) $8.95, ISBN 1-55028-135-6 (cloth) $16.95. (Lorimer Blue Kite Adventure series).
Distributed by Formac Publishing. CIP.

Grades 2 to 6/Ages 7 to 11

Reviewed by Alison Mews

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

The title Adventure on Thunder Island is taken from one of the four stories in this collection by two native writers. While the stories are original and contemporary, supernatural elements are instrumental in three of the four.

Jack Waboose trades treasures and wits with a troll in the first story, by Cree writer Jordan Wheeler, and events unfold to the mutual satisfaction of boy, troll and reader. Wheeler also wrote the second story, 'The Ebony Forest," in which Milton Whitehawk has an encounter with an ancestral spirit.

Ojibwa author Edna King wrote the title story, in which Jessica is inadvertently set adrift on her brother's raft in a storm and is guided to the sacred Thunder Island by forces unseen. There she is protected by Thunderchild, son of Thunder and son of Moon, until the storm is over and she can be rescued by her father. The last story, "Pigeon Bridge," also by Jordan Wheeler, is a purely contemporary tale in which Troy must prove himself in order to be accepted by the while boys in his new neighbourhood.

The oral tradition of native story-telling is strongly evident in this collection. The simple sentence structure and repetition of phrases make a good book to read aloud. The vocabulary and dialogue are also very basic and would benefit from varied oral inflection to sustain interest. The four stories have different reading levels and they have been arranged in increasing order of narrative complexity.

The cover illustration by native artist C.J. Taylor depicts an exciting scene from the title story and will certainly help to grab readers' interest. It's a shame, however, that there are no illustrations throughout the text.

A suitable choice if you require read-aloud stories or native children's tales set in present-day Canada.

Alison Mews, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Nfld.

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