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Adapted by Amy Cooper from the "Spirit Bay" television films.
Willowdale, ON: Annick Press, 1987.
155pp., cloth, $7.95.
ISBN 0-920303-86-2. paper, $4.95. ISBN 0-920303-84-6. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Adele Case.

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

Amy Jo Cooper's Dream Quest is two linked novellas. The original story, composed by Michael G. Doxtater, relates the important part that tribal elders play in the guidance of adolescents towards maturity. The "dreaming" of the adolescents assists in ensuring the successful transition of young native people to adulthood. These stories have been filmed, and in this re-rendering in Annick Press's "Spirit Bay" series, one can well imagine how successful the tales would have been in a visual medium.

Written in the first person, the stories comprise an artful weaving of portions of Ojibwa tradition and background. The author has a shrewd understanding of the difficulties met by many young native people in making adjustments to adulthood in a world that is often difficult and inconsistent. The stories manage to be readable, moving and yet vividly realistic; each contains a message that is important for all young people, native and non-native.

The question each story asks is the old one that weighs one's childhood fears against one's wishes, or one's search for self-esteem against one's quest for proper behaviour. By using the vernacular and getting down to the level of the teen-age characters in both speech and action, Cooper shows us young people who are able to assess their elders with acuity.

This book should have wide appeal for young readers, since it has a timeless (and timely) message for the young - to cleave to the solid values, to be wary of the trickster or the quick fix, to fight greed and pride, and to avoid the folly of unpreparedness. Let's hope that Cooper will write more such stories.

Adele Case, Brittania Secondary School, Vancouver, BC.
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