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