________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008


The Mouse Woman Trilogy. 30th Anniversary Edition.

Christie Harris. Illustrated by Douglas Tait.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2007.
464 pp., pbk., $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-55192-880-7.

Subject Headings:
Haida Indians-Folklore-Juvenile literature.
Tales-British Columbia-Queen Charlotte Islands-Juvenile literature.

Mouse Woman and the Mischief-Makers
See review at CM, Vol. 12, No. 6, November 10, 2005.

Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses.
See review at CM, Vol. 13, No. 1, September 1, 2006.

Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4



The Mouse Woman Trilogy brings together in a single volume three of Christie Harris’ now classic collections of Northwest Coast First Nations’ tales that were originally published between 1976 and 1979 and which featured the tiny supernatural helper, "Mouse Woman." The volume also contains Douglas Tait’s original drawings. Since two of the three books in the collection were recently reviewed in CM, this review will focus on Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads which presents seven tales about how Mouse Woman had to deal with the muddleheaded behaviour of either humans or narnauks, the latter being supernatural creatures that could appear in animal or human form.

     Love is an emotion which has been known to cause individuals to act irrationally or muddleheadedly, and that emotion features in several of the stories in which either a human wants to marry a narnauk ("Robin Woman and Sawbill Duck Woman") or a narnauk wants to marry a human ("The Mink Being Who Wanted to Marry a Princess" and "The Princess and the Copper Canoeman"), both behaviors that were considered contrary to the accepted social code and something which could only lead to no good. Ambition and pride can also contribute to muddleheaded behaviour with the former driving events in "The Sea Hunters Who Were Swallowed by a Whirlpool" and "Asdilda and Omen" while the latter propelled the action in "The Princess Who Rejected Her Cousin." And then there are those who just seem to be born muddleheads as can be observed in "The Rumor" where Mouse Woman deals with the "greedy but none-too-bright narnauk called Big-Raven" who very foolishly steals food from Mouse Woman’s children.

      Harris’ stories read as freshly now as they did when I first met them some three decades ago, and all three books should be in all collections serving children. Cost conscious purchasers will note that the trilogy’s price is less than the total for the three books being purchased separately.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM’s editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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