________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 5. . . .October 7, 2016


Peace Dancer.

Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd. Illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers.
Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2016.
40 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55017-739-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55017-740-4 (ebook).

Subject Heading:
Legends-British Columbia-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

**** /4



The strong people bailed the water out of the canoes as the rain kept falling. The old people were crying and praying to the Chief of the Heavens. They said, “Please have mercy on us! Bring peace back to the world. Please make the storm stop!”

But the storm did not stop.


Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd have collaborated before to produce attractive and engaging picture books relating traditional stories from British Columbia’s northwest coast. Peace Dancer is the fourth in their series of Northwest Coast legends. As with its predecessors, Peace Dancer is likely to be enthusiastically received. As the text states on the opening page, “This story is as old as the tides that rise and fall on our shores, yet the lessons taught may be more important now than they were thousands of years ago.” Peace Dancer is the story of a great flood that descends upon the land as a consequence of the people departing from what they know to be right. When children capture and abuse a crow, the Chief of the Heavens is angry at their ignorance and lack of respect. Rains flood the earth, and, in what is an unmistakable similarity to the story of Noah’s Ark, the people take to their canoes to wait for the rain to cease and the land to dry.

      Vickers’ highly stylized illustrations reveal the obvious influence of traditional west coast art. Early and late in the book, the art is brightly and boldly colourful. Appropriately, during the flood scenes, the palette takes on a somber, gray feel that reflects the depressed spirits of the people shivering in fear as they attempt to ride out the storm. Almost every double page spread includes brief written text with a facing page consisting of a full-page illustration. No illustration is particularly detailed, but each picture adds to the written text and solidifies the link between this modern book and the traditional origins of the story.

      Parents and teachers will enjoy sharing Peace Dancer with children. It is a fine book, and Harbour Publishing can be proud of their achievement.

Highly Recommended.

Dr. Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. He specialises in literature for children.

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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ISSN 1201-9364
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