CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006
Thus begins a very well written, wonderfully illustrated story by Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow. This book deserves many accolades.
The tale is a memory of 1935, and Watl’kina is a young boy who overhears the Indian Agent snarl at the elders, telling them that dancing was against the law. Watl’kina can sense something is going on as the boat is packed with boxes that are covered by blankets. The elders organized a potlatch under the guise of a fishing trip to catch the running salmon. The families that traveled to Kingcome Inlet had to be sure that they were not followed by the Indian Agent and had to be very quiet as the approached the neighbouring band. Once there, the potlatch begins, and Watl’kina is drawn to the sound of the drums and the singing. He peeks in and is allowed to watch for a little while. He is amazed by the dancing and is both proud and thrilled to be watching, especially when he catches a glimpse of his father dancing.
The illustrations by Darlene Gait are crisp, vivid and seamlessly join the telling of this tale. The combination of real world imagery dashed with that of First Nations beliefs is striking. It is easy to spend time examining the distinctive illustrations.
Secret of the Dance should be a “must have” for school libraries and classrooms.
John Dryden teaches in the Cowichan Valley, B.C.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.