CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Jocelyn Villeneuve.
Illustrations by Luc Robert.

Moonbeam (ON), Penumbra Press, c1981.
45pp, cloth, $6.95.
ISBN 0-920806-26-0.

Grades 2 and up.
Reviewed by Sue Easun.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

Canadian folklore abounds with tales of our native peoples. Even as we see ourselves as a multicultural nation, the roots of this great land of ours still lie in the realm of Indian legend. So it is with Nanna Bijou, the mighty giant who befriended the Ojibway, was betrayed by the Sioux, and ultimately turned to stone when the wrath of Gitchi Manitou could not be contained. To reward the Ojibway for their loyalty, Nanna Bijou presents their chief Shinwauk with a secret cave of silver but warns him they must never reveal its whereabouts to the white man or all will be lost forever. Shinwauk is true to his word and so are his people, but the Sioux soon learn of their neighbours' growing prosperity and plant a spy in their midst. This simple act of treachery proves to be the undoing of all concerned, as an unsuspecting Atatharho leads the white man to the cave, hoping Nanna Bijou will punish the Ojibway and the Sioux can lay claim to their hunting, grounds. But Nanna Bijou stands to lose as much as the Ojibway as he must (and cannot) answer to an unforgiving Manitou, who vents his displeasure in a violent storm. When it is over, many of the Ojibway have been killed, Atatharho dies (of premature old age) knowing the extent of his betrayal, and Nanna Bijou is rendered powerless forever, turned into a solid mass of rock that can never again interfere with destiny of the Indian people. This is a fine little book, no larger and certainly no thicker than the average paperback. It should already be part of your collection.

Sue Easun, Toronto, ON.
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