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BUFFALO WILD! by Deidre Havrelock


by Deidre Havrelock ; illustrated by Azby Whitecalf

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-77321-533-4
Publisher: Annick Press

A young boy yearns for the return of wild buffalo, and his vivid dreams bring them back to the prairie where they belong.

Declan longs to see majestic herds of buffalo like those in the stories his grandmother tells. He wishes he could feel how “the whole world trembled” when millions of buffalo still roamed the land. Kokum explains that “now…those Buffalo live in the sky” but says they will return someday. “I wish those Buffalo would draw near and come home,” Declan says, and during a starry night lit by the full moon, his imagination allows him to free the “wild, wonderful beasts” from captivity. But the creatures wreak havoc on Kokum’s garden, and Declan realizes he has no way to control the chaos. “This land must have been less crowded a long time ago,” reflects Declan, and he calls on the Creator to take the wild animals back, even though “without the Buffalo, the prairie didn’t seem nearly as wild.” Through Kokum and Declan, Havrelock (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) explores the importance of buffalo to Indigenous peoples, while illustrator Whitecalf (Plains Cree) uses bold shades of blue, red, and violet to create a child’s view of mysterious nighttime imaginings. Both text and illustrations carefully situate characters in the here and now with details such as Kokum’s smartphone and yoga gazebo. The 2014 Buffalo Treaty is appended.

A satisfying ending ensures this nighttime adventure will soothe even the wildest child.

(author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)