CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number . . . .February 17, 2017
In this brief English and Cree bilingual book, the wife and husband team of Flora and Robert Rideout, residents of Norway House, MB, provide the text and photos that introduce readers to scenes they might see during the various seasons in Northern Manitoba. Each “season” page contains a full-colour photograph with the English one-word caption at the top and the Cree equivalent at the bottom. Each of the four seasons, beginning with Winter, is introduced by a striking double-page spread photograph. Oddly, while each season is identified in English, the Cree equivalent for the season is not provided. Visually, the seasons are treated unequally. Winter and Spring both have four photos, Summer six, and Fall just three, with one of them being a close-up photo of a “Butterfly” (specifically a Canadian Tiger Swallow), not something I would normally associate with fall.
Where Seasons of the North falls short is in its design. Following the title and copyright pages, of the book’s next five pages, two are completely blank, another is essentially empty as it contains just three lines of “Acknowledgements”, a further page is a “Foreward” and another a picture of a “Flower” (a Tiger Lily that looks more like a photo of a painting than a photograph of living flowers) unconnected to a season. In a 32 page book, pages simply cannot be wasted, and these five pages could have been much better utilized in reinforcing the book’s theme. A seagull is used to introduce spring, but another gull appears as one of the season’s four words/photos. A magnificent Manitoba sunrise (sunset?) is used to represent summer, but then a different version of the same photo appears as “Sunny”. Again, lost opportunities! Of the four seasons, the photos representing Winter are the strongest, and even “southerners” will identify with skating, sliding, snowshoeing and snow-surrounded rivers. The season the most poorly portrayed is Fall. In addition to the aforementioned butterfly, there is a “Fishing” photo of a child in a padded jacket and hat standing in a boat while reeling in a fish, and another of a “Sweater”-wearing woman standing in the woods with a child. Though both photos capture that season’s coolness, the forest backgrounds don’t contain the colours usually associated with fall.
Flora Rideout appears to assume that the adults sharing this book with youngsters will be fluent in Cree as she does not provide a pronunciation guide for the Cree portions of Seasons of the North. The notes on the back cover say that Flora “wants to develop more Cree resource books.” It is to be hoped that she will as such resources are definitely needed, but, in doing so, much more attention needs to be given to how these future works are put together.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
on this title or this review, send mail to email@example.com.
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.
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.