CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 10. . . .January 9, 2009
Golden Eye and the Deadly Dancer.
Judith Anne Moody. Illustrated by Rita Schoenberger.
Red Deer, AB: MacDonald Publishing (www.goldeneyeadventures.com), 2006.
135 pp., pbk., $19.95.
Coast Salish Indians-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Ruth McMahon.
"It's too late, Fat Goose. The fire is coming right for us. We are cut off from the village. We're cut off from the village except by water."
"What are we going to do brother? I am scared. I can't swim, and what about this little deer?" Fat Goose's face crumpled as he began to cry.
As they paddled around the point and down the long harbour towards their winter home, the people watched in terror as the fire advanced toward their longhouse. Golden Eye stared at the only home he had ever known. Something stirred inside him - a rage, a need to do something. Quickly he beached his canoe on one of the two islets in the harbour. He raced to the top and stretched out his arms, leaning into the hot wind that blew from the roaring fire. Then Golden Eye roared. He roared back at the fire, his face contorted, the veins in his neck distended.
Astoundingly, the wind veered sharply. The fire turned back upon itself and slowly went out.
This tale of Golden Eye follows him from his early childhood to his journey to manhood through his vision quest. Special powers that have been bestowed upon Golden Eye cause jealousy among some members of his tribe, notably Screaming Jay, the Deadly Dancer of the title.
In the story's dramatic opening, readers witness a fire that threatens Golden Eye's tribe, and he uses his unique powers to save the village. The next scene is early in Golden Eye's life, and the plot drives the story forward as Golden Eye grows and faces dangers from within and without his tribe.
I cannot comment on the authenticity of the customs, traditions and legends described in this story, but the story is written with respect, compassion and appreciation.
The poetic language is captivating, the action is compelling, the characters are engaging and the amazing scenery of the Canadian west coast well-drawn.
Golden Eye and the Deadly Dancer is a strong story that defies the often problematic status of being self-published. This book should mesh well with Social Studies curricula or provide a good adventurous read.
Ruth McMahon is a professional children's librarian, storyteller, co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Children's Choice Book Award, and the mother of two elementary school aged children.
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