WISAKYJAK AND THE GIANT LYNXES AND THE MAKING OF THE NEW WORLD AFTER THE GREAT FLOOD
Reviewed by Kay Kerman
Reviewed by Kay Kerman
Volume 20 Number 5
To the Woodland Cree, Wisakyjak is known as "the Clever One." He is a spiritual figure who lived long ago when the world was young and when men and animals could talk to each other. Adam Ballantyne describes him as "a great fellow for playing all sorts of tricks .... He was sometimes very merry and sometimes angry.
He was very sly and yet he did many good things and also ... a few bad." The story begins when Wisakyjak asks wolf to hunt for him, as he feels hungry. Wolf agrees on the condition that Wisakyjak follow him without entering the water. While hunting, the wolf is attacked and killed by lynxes. Wisakyjak sees this and crosses the stream, disregarding wolf's warning. Suddenly, everywhere the water rises higher and higher, and Wisakyjak chooses a pair of each type of animal to join him on his raft.
Determined to find land, Wisakyjak attaches a line to various animals and sends them down into the water, asking them to "bring me up some mud from the bottom." When muskrat returns he carries a ball of mud in his hind paw. Wisakyjak blows on the mud until it grows big enough for everyone to live on. Once everyone has settled in, Wisakyjak disguises himself as a great bullfrog and seeks revenge on the lynxes that killed his friend the wolf.
The woodcut illustrations by Annie Downes Catterson portray an accurate feeling of the Canadian northern wilderness: tall black spruce and birch trees, snow, cold waters and all the various northern animals.
This is a rich and well-rounded picture-book. It is a welcome addition to any library or classroom studying Canada's native peoples. Hats off to both author and illustrator!
Kay Kerman teaches a combined Kindergarten and grade 1 class at Chelsea School in Chelsea, Quebec
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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