A current-day Interior Salish girl named Nikki and her two friends spend a day with Yayah, Nikki’s grandmother, learning about edible plants.
Nikki and Yayah are tanning a deer hide when they notice a rainbow blooming across the sky. When neighbors Jamesie Pookins and Lenny join them, Yayah asks if the children know which edible plants are ready to be gathered in the spring. They have many answers: wild rhubarb, wild celery, lightning mushrooms, and more. Even though they admit they don’t like how mushrooms taste, they want to help Yayah gather. Soon, everyone climbs into Auntie Karen’s minivan, and they leave to hunt for plants. As they do, Yayah teaches them which plants are safe to eat and which are not, all the while also teaching them the Nle?kepmxcín words for each plant, too. The dialogue naturally folds helpful pronunciation cues for several of the words into the text, and all words are printed with phonetic pronunciations in the closing glossary. Campbell’s (Interior Salish/Métis) quiet story weaves botanical facts with respect for the natural world, naming the plants in the Nle?kepmxcín language. Flett’s (Cree/Métis) colorful, calming illustrations blend very well with the tone of the text, often gracefully incorporating the pulled-out Nle?kepmxcín in display type. The flowers pop against the dark green grass, the relative smallness of the human figures in the landscape emphasizing their relationship with nature.
With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out. (Picture book. 4-8)