In this Canadian import, a girl spends the summer with her grandmother on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
The evocative story is told from the first-person point of view of the unnamed girl, who appears to be 10 or 11. She spends each summer with Gran at her cozy log cabin on an island in the Salish Sea, which is the collective name of the waterways of coastal British Columbia and Washington state. Lovely, atmospheric watercolor illustrations show the girl and her grandmother spending idyllic weeks together exploring the beach, gardening, fishing, and cooking. The child visits their neighbor, Joe, who is carving an eagle on a cedar totem pole. He tells the girl stories and speaks about eagles, explaining that you must earn an eagle feather in order to keep one. In both the U.S. and Canada, ownership of eagle feathers is legal only for Indigenous people, opening the door for readers to see Joe and possibly the girl and her grandmother as Canadian First Nations people. The girl and her grandmother have golden-tan skin and brown hair; Joe has reddish-tan skin and graying black hair. The story unfolds with a calm, peaceful tone, indicating the secure relationship between granddaughter and grandmother and the reassuring certainty of annual traditions in a protected environment. Several terms in the text are not well defined, such as jigging for fish, “midden,” and “petroglyph.” A glossary and map and a clear indication of whether or not the characters are Indigenous people would have improved the accessibility of the story.
An informative and entertaining tale of an intriguing location and a warm family relationship. (Picture book. 4-8)