CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 19. . . .January 19, 2018
The Salmon Run. (Schchechmala Children’s Series).
Clayton Gauthier. Dakelh translation by Francois Prince.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2016.
20 pp., stapled pbk., $9.95.
Grade 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Gillian Richardson.
The moon tells us we are almost home
Another beautiful day is on its way
We have worked so hard for our children
In the end...there will be time to rest
The salmon is such a central cultural figure for many First Nations that it makes the perfect subject for a children’s picture book. In this case, the author/illustrator, Clayton Gauthier, completed this story as an assignment during an art course. He has portrayed the salmon run in his distinctive, strikingly bold style and color, with animated fish against the backdrop of a mountain stream. The brief English text runs beneath the illustrations while the translation in the Dakelh language (also known as Carrier) is shown above them.
The simple presentation is prefaced with Gauthier’s “Introduction” expressing his wish that readers observe the salmon journey for a “better understanding and respect for salmon as they bless us and feed us...” This little book is just right for small hands to hold and for sharing and discussing with youngsters to help them appreciate the salmon’s challenging journey and test of its strength of character. The author touches on each aspect of the migration journey and how it links the people so closely to the earth, the water, the sky and the seasons. The Salmon Run is a serious story, but the amusing final illustration of the contented salmon enjoying well-earned rest under a cozy blanket is a gentle way to show “in the end”.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.
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University of Manitoba
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