An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders.


From the This Land Is Our Storybook series

Henry Beaver (Cree) shares truths about the Cree culture with his visiting grandchildren to pass on its traditional knowledge.

The first lesson he introduces is how to harvest salt on the salt plains of Fort Smith, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Colorful photos then show Henry and the grandchildren trapping beaver while Henry’s wife, Eileen, (Cree and Chipewyan) demonstrates how to skin the animal for hides used in making mitts, moccasins, and parkas. There’s actual step-by-step instructions for tipi setup with accompanying illustrations. Eileen shares the importance of smudging and offers descriptions of each of the sacred plants that are used for spirit cleansing. This is followed by traditional Cree stories told by Eileen and Henry as they spend the night in the tipi with their grandchildren. The importance of teaching as a vehicle for transmitting culture suffuses the narrative, with lessons gleaned from the smallest of details transmitted smoothly and naturally in the narrative; that learning never ends is emphasized in Henry’s description of himself as “an Elder in training for twenty years.” The trip is a heartfelt family experience, and the accompanying photos lend the book the feel of a family album packed with good memories, a visual connection made to be accessible to all readers.

An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-927083-52-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Fifth House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Superficial but kind of fun.


Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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