________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 13 . . . . March 1, 2002

cover Carry Me, Mama.

Monica Devine. Illustrated by Pauline Paquin.
Toronto, ON: Stoddart Kids, 2001.
24 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-7737-3317-5.

Subject Heading:
Inuit children-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool- grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4


When Katie was a baby, she went everywhere with Mama.
She rode on Mama's back under her big, flowery parka.
When the river ran high and swift, Katie went with Mama
to catch king salmon.

When the air chilled and the leaves turned to gold,
Katie went with Mama to the mountains.
Katie peered over Mama's shoulder as she stooped
to pick plump, red berries.

When this story begins, Katie goes everywhere her Mama goes. Katie is transported on her Mama's back which is traditional in northern cultures. Katie takes part in seasonal fishing and berry picking, up out of the way and safely stowed in the hood of her mother's parka. But as Katie grows, it becomes time for her walk beside her mother. Everywhere they go the familiar refrain rings out, "Carry Me, Mama." Holding her mother's hand soon Katie is walking farther and farther without having to be carried. Eventually Katie can walk "as far as you can throw a stone" and soon "as far as a raven flies." Still, like all children big and small, Katie loves to carried by her Mama, especially to bed.

inside art

     I see the flowery parkas that Katie and her Mama wear in this story everyday. But I knew immediately that this story was set somewhere other than Nunavut. The landscape depicted with trees and grass was a dead give away. There aren't any trees in Iqaluit. I see Mama's packing their babies on their backs daily. Packing is the warmest and safest way for small children to travel up here in the arctic. Paquin does a lovely job with these oil illustrations. Her colourful pictures bring the story alive. Seeing the salmon drying on racks by the river is a nice ethnic detail. The scenes are so rich with detail that the reader barely notices that Paquin's characters are faceless.

     Although this is the author's fourth book, I am unfamiliar with her previous work and was pleasantly surprised. This story uses a common form of repetition in reaching its conclusion. Every mother will recognize the refrain "Carry Me," and this is a universal storyline. Even though children grow up and learn to walk on their own two feet, they still crave the comfort of their Mama's arms. This is a wonderful selection for bedtime reading. Carry Me, Mama is a great choice for gift giving and a recommended purchase for public libraries.

Highly Recommended.

As the result of an exciting move. Catherine Hoyt is now the Reference Librarian at the Nunavut Legislative Library in Iqaluit, Nunavut. However, she enjoys volunteering at the local public library in the newest capital in Canada.

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364