________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006

cover

Beyond the Northern Lights.

Lynn Blaikie.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006.
24 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55005-123-7.

Subject Heading:
Ravens-Folklore-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Gail de Vos.

*** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.

excerpt:

Raven, will you warm me by a crackling fire pit,

Where hand in hand the spirits dance,

Where elders come to sit,

Where ancient wisdom blesses me

Each time the fire's lit?

Raven, warm me, Raven, by a crackling fire pit.

 

The colours and shapes created by well-known fabric artist Lynn Blaikie to accompany her simple poetic homage to Raven and her adopted environment lift off the page in flamboyant wonder and splendour. Inspired book design by the publisher complements the vivid batik designs that adorn each full page illustration and several wordless two-page spreads.

internal art

     The poem celebrates the power of Raven as a guardian spirit rather than the more renowned trickster figure that usually comes to mind when a young girl calls upon Raven to take her on a magical journey through the sky, the sea, on land and finally to the safety of her bed and dreams.

     The artist has deep roots in the Yukon where she has made her home since she was eighteen, discovering and perfecting her batik art creations that are in many major collections around the world. While the art depicts the characters as most probably First Nations, the poem, itself, makes no concrete correlation with the folklore of the Raven in the north. It is a stunning book, with warm, rich, evocative illustrations, but it is not, as the subject heading suggests, authentic folklore about Raven nor does it include any source notes to bolster that claim. This is particularly disappointing to me as past chair of the Aesop Award committee which celebrates excellence in folklore for children and insists on source notes as one of the criteria for selection.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail de Vos teaches at the School of Library and Information Studies for the University of Alberta and is the author of six books on storytelling and folklore.

 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW |TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - November 24, 2006.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME