________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 22. . . .February 13, 2015


The Fire Walker.

Sherry Ansloos. Illustrated by Sheldon Dawson.
Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican, 2014.
32 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-894717-93-9.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 6-12.

Review by Ian Stewart.

**** /4



Long ago when all living things could speak, animals and plants, birds and creeping things, I sat with my grandmother beneath the night sky. Seated on the ground, I shivered as the stars flickered above us. I was chilled, so my grandmother drew me to herself. I could feel the warmth of her arms around me. We were waiting for good news.

The grandfathers were gathered in the great council. A calamity had struck the village. We were without fire.


Sherry Ansloos is a Winnipeg, MB, educator, storyteller, singer and a songwriter. Her first book, I Loved Her (2010), was about a young Métis girl and the special relationship she had with her grandmother. In Fire Walker, Ansloos’ young heroine must go on a daring quest, one which tests her courage and determination to fulfill her destiny and to bring happiness back to her people’s village. Winnipeg illustrator Sheldon Dawson’s vibrant illustrations bring the story to life.

internal art     The story begins long, long ago with a catastrophe striking a Native village. The north wind “had rushed down through the smoke holes and churned within the tents-a cold that made your knees knock and teeth chatter. With a mighty gust, it blew out every fire in the village.” The Great Spirit informed the elders that a Fire Walker would have to find fire and bring it to the village.

     A young girl is told by her grandmother that she is the Fire Walker, Iskotew Opimohtew and must follow the fireflies, who are little Fire Walkers, to find the fiery star that fell from the eastern sky. The quest took months, and, in the end, the fiery star could not be found. Iskotew Opimohtew followed another star that fell in the south. After many months travel, she could still not find it. She then travelled west and north, but no fiery star was found. Then a star fell directly towards the center of the earth. Iskotew Opimohtew ran towards it and found the star. She wrapped it in her shawl and took it to her village. Soon all the camp fires were lit; the people were warm; and they cooked their meat and feasted.

     Although this simple quest tale is an often-told, the firefly as a miniature Fire Walker gives Ansloos’ story an ethereal, mythical quality seldom seen in modern story telling, all the more reason to enjoy seeing them and to read about them.

Highly Recommended.

Ian Stewart teaches at Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg, MB.

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.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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