________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 41 . . . . June 22, 2018


Kiss by Kiss = Ocêtôwina.

Richard Van Camp. Translated into the Plains Cree "Y" dialect by Mary Cardinal Collins.
Victoria, BC: Orca, Sept., 2018.
26 pp., board book, pdf & epub, $9.95 (bb).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1621-3 (bb), ISBN 978-1-4598-1622-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1623-7 (epub).

Preschool / Birth-age 2.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



  One kiss.
  peyak ocêtôwin

    two kiss,

Richard Van Camp has previously created three other board books, Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, Little You and We Sang You Home. Though accompanying promotional materials describes Kiss by Kiss = Ocêtôwina as "a delightful counting book", technically it is a "number book" as there is nothing for the intended audience to observe and then count. Nonetheless, the adjective "delightful" still applies.

      Design-wise, each pair of facing pages contains one full-page colour photo while the other page carries the brief rhyming text that is rendered first in English and then repeated in Plains Cree "Y" dialect. With the exception of "7" and "10", two numbers share each page. Once the number 10 is reached, the text turns to describing "your" [the child's] kisses.

Your kisses are so sweet.
Kâh ocemîyan: mwecih sîwinkan,

Your kisses are so fun!
Kah ocemîyan: Mistahi môcikan!

      The multiracial photographs show infants and toddlers kissing someone or being on the receiving end of kisses from parents (and perhaps a grandfather) or siblings. The photos underline the special bond between and among family members.

      The final page includes a pronunciation guide for the Cree words from one to ten, plus the Cree word for "kiss". For instance:

one: peyak [pey-yuk]
two: nîso [nee-sow]

      Though Kiss by Kiss = Ocêtôwina isn't a true counting book, parents could make it into one by reading the text and then giving (or asking for) the correct number of kisses. Once the number 10 is completed, a total of 55 kisses will have been exchanged. If that seems a lot, be aware that the final text page reads:

Please can we start again
at kiss number one?

Mahtesa mîna kah mâcitânaw
hâw mîna… peyak ocêôwin —


Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, contact cm@umanitoba.ca.

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