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Simon Paul-Dene
Penticton (B.C.), Theytus Books, 1992. 36pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-919441-34-3. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8

Reviewed by Kay Kerman.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

This is a Six Nations legend interpreted through the art of Simon Paul-Dene. Although the paintings are attractive, the story is very thin and the sentence structure is complex.

This book retells the legend of why "one can hear the sweetest song of a bird but one can never see him." It is said that all the winged creatures participated in a contest to see who could soar to the greatest heights and still sing the sweetest song in flight. Deceitfully, a small bird hid himself in the tailfeathers of an eagle until all other birds had dropped out of the contest. Being afraid of heights, the small bird confessed to his trickery, and when the eagle gently brought him down to earth, the bird hid in the trees, where he can only be heard and not seen.

It is not clear to me who this book is marketed to. The sentence structure is much too complex for young children. The sentences are long and the words used are not simple enough, for example, "Countless summers ago, creatures from the four directions of Mother Earth would gather to honor their future generations at a meeting place which we know today as the Toronto Islands." As well, a spiritual element of the medicine wheel is significant in the illustra­tions and the story, but there is not enough of an explanation about it in the author's note at the beginning of the book.

This paperback book sells for $10.95. This is very dear for a book that has such a weak story-line. This is Simon Paul-Dene's first book. We wish him more success on his next.

Not recommended.

Kay Kerman teaches a combined Kindergarten and Grade 1 class at Chelsea Elementary School in Chelsea, Quebec.
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