Warm memories of visits to Grandpa’s house, laced with sentiment and sprinkled with Salish.
Campbell (Shi-shi-etko, also illustrated by LaFave, 2005) draws from childhood experiences to recapture the excitement of visiting her elder relative’s farm. With a gaggle of cousins, the young narrator explores grand-auntie’s old log yuxkn, climbs into the hayloft, feeds crabapples to a horse, gleefully pleases an irritated pig, rejects Grandpa’s pokerfaced offerings of “weird food”—“Don’t want no Rocky Mountain oysters. Don’t want liver or tripe, neither”—and ventures into the dusty storage room to see his World War II medals. LaFave’s cartoon illustrations, informally drawn and digitally colored in transparent washes, capture the exhilaration, sending four energetic youngsters in sneakers and short pants roaming through a succession of comfortably well-kept rural scenes. The lack of pronunciation guidance may cause non-Salish readers to stumble over some lines (“Our grand-aunties and grand-uncles call us kids schmém’i?t”), but the joy of being part of a large family gathering and romping about while the grownups chatter and laugh somewhere else will be familiar to a wide audience.
The voice may be adult, but the experience is recalled vividly enough to bring young readers along. (Picture book. 6-8)