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Leo Sawicki
Illustrated by Leo Neilson
Waterloo (Ont.), Penumbra Press, 1992. 80pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-921254-47-4
Distributed by University of Toronto Press.

Grades 7 to 10 / Ages 12 to 15

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

This collection of seven short stories is drawn from the many tribes, customs and ceremonies of the North American Native People. In each case, Leo Sawicki, the author, includes the origin of the story as well as follow-up activity with which the listener/ reader can further explore the theme of the story. These applications vary from origami art to papier-mache to creating with objects from nature. They provide excellent opportu­nities to retell an aspect of the story from another perspective and in another medium.

Each of the seven story units is set up in the same way. For example, the first unit, "The Orb," begins with the story itself as told by Sawicki. The theme of this story is that all life on earth is interdependent and that all forms depend on a peaceful and healthy envi­ronment for survival. As is customary in the story tradition, it would be suitable either to read the tale as is or to memorize and retell it.

Next there follows an explanation of the origin of the story. In this case, it was based on the geodesic paper domes made by eighty-one-year-old Kati Simons, who works for world peace. There is an explanation of the shape symbolism of the orb or "Peace Planet," as it is called. Finally, this unit contains a learning activity that consists of instructions in the paper-folding technique required to create an orb.

Each unit can be further enhanced by examining the illustrations by artist Leo Neilson. All the paintings are grouped in the middle of the book; there is one colourful illustration for each short story. The illustra­tion that accompanies "The Orb" gives yet another perspective because it is two-dimensional by virtue of the medium. Thus, it forms the traditional six-pointed star in three layers consisting of a set number of triangles in each level of the star. The colours used are the three primary colours, making the symbolism obvious.

The stories and activities in Anywhere Stories, a sequel to Anytime Stories, are aimed at Intermediate students. They have broad cross-curriculum application and would lend themselves well to an enrichment of a North American Native People study unit.


Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian with the Peel Board of Education in Mississauga, Ontario.
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