CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 16 . . . . December 22, 2017
Sandra L. Dodge's Minegoo Mnkiu is a retelling of the Mi'kmaq creation story. In this short, lyrical book, Dodge shares the story of how the Great Spirit creates Kluskap, the Mi'kmaq people, and Minegoo (Prince Edward Island).
Dodge's use of clear, repetitive language gives a musical quality to the book; each time the Great Spirit 'does a thing', it acts as a familiar refrain. Her language is carefully chosen and descriptive without being flowery, and Georgina Francis' Mi'kmaq translations on each page add a layer of authenticity. While the purpose of this book would arguably be to present the creation story rather than provide a lesson on Mi'kmaq culture, an afterword or glossary that explains the significance of certain things (the loon and the eagle, for example, as both are featured in the story) might be beneficial to readers.
Dodge illustrated the book as well as writing the text. Her colour choices are bright and bold while the watercolour medium provides a dreamy, ethereal effect-- perfect for the story she is telling. Each page of text has a border based on a Mi'kmaq quill pattern, framing the words and providing a nice balance to the opposing illustrated page.
Minegoo Mnkiu would be an excellent way to introduce young people to the stories of the Mi'Kmaq people. It will make a great addition to library collections of Indigenous fiction or nonfiction myths and legends.
Allison Giggey is a teacher-librarian who is proud to live on Minegoo.