CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 32. . . April 28, 2017
Are you looking for a fun way for your children and/or students to discover the Michif language? I Don’t Like Bugs!/J’aime paa lii biibiits! is an excellent book for introducing Michif, the traditional Metis language. Readers are taken on a summer journey with a boy, girl, and dog. From building sandcastles, to going on a picnic, to taking a walk in the woods, the three main characters share why they like summer… but not the pesky insects that come with it. Will they find a way to enjoy activities without the annoying invasion of bugs?
The book, presented in both English and Michif, provides readers with opportunities to learn words and sentences in Michif. If readers are not familiar with the Michif language, then they may find it difficult knowing the pronunciation of words. However, those familiar with the French language will discover the similarities between both languages. For example, “j’aime pas” in French is written as “j’aime paa” in Michif.
The repetitive phrase, “I don’t like bugs. J’aime paa lii biibiits”, is an amusing way for children to become involved in a read-aloud. Children can easily predict when it will be their turn to say the phrase. Although, will they be able to guess what the phrase changes to at the end of the story when the characters say why they like winter the best?
Edgar Danny Desjarlais was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. In addition to being the author of this book and The ‘Tobanz, he is a musician. Desjarlais wrote his first song at the age of the 13, and he has written and recorded 12 original compositions. Desjarlais’ cousin and friend, William Sanderson, provided the Michif translation for I Don’t Like Bugs!/ J’aime paa lii biibiits! Sanderson is an Indigenous educator and has taught at the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and Red River College. Sanderson knows Michif, Ojibwa, French, and English.
Colourful and playful illustrations are provided by Kimberly McKay, a freelance illustrator and graphic designer from Ingersoll, ON. From ants enjoying their own picnic, courtesy of the boy and girl’s packed lunch, to a wasp basking in the sun under a mini (drink) umbrella on a floating citrus slice in the girl’s drink glass, McKay entertainingly captures the insects’ love of summer.
I Don’t Like Bugs!/ J’aime paa lii biibiits! will entertain readers with its story and illustrations! An excellent addition to a collection of Indigenous language books.
Kelsey Sukich is a teacher in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, MB. She can relate to the characters’ enjoyment of summer activities and annoyance of the pesky insects.
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