________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 9 . . . .December 21, 2007

cover

Which Way Should I Go?

Sylvia Olsen with Ron Martin. Illustrated by Kasia Charko.
Winlaw, BC: Sono Nis Press, 2007.
40 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55039-161-9.

Subject Headings:
Nootka Indians-Juvenile fiction.
Nootka Indians-Social life and customs-Juvenile fiction.
Grief-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

There was a reason Joey was happy. There was a reason he liked to be helpful and look on the bright side of things. It was the same reason he liked to visit his grandma.

Joey's grandma was his favourite person in the whole world.

 

Which Way Should I Go? tells the story of Joey and his relationship with his loving and lively grandmother. Their relationship fills Joey with joy and endows him with such a cheerful persona that people often wonder how he can be so happy. Tragically, however, one day Grandma gets sick and dies, casting a pall of sorrow over the boy.

     Sylvia Olsen and Ron Martin's simple tale is conveyed with a sensitivity that adds beauty to their story. Joey's grandmother provides Joey with many opportunities to make choices. In so doing, the grandmother endows Joey with the ability to make responsible and constructive decisions. As such, after a period of mourning, Joey is eventually able to make the important decision that, despite his loss, he will maintain his happy disposition.

internal art      Olsen and Martin's words are augmented by the soft palette Kasia Charko illustrations. The illustrations primarily consist of cool colours with a preponderance of light greens and blues. Together with the cool colours, the employment of curved lines gives the images a soft, gentle appearance perhaps reflective of the grandmother's influence on the young protagonist's life. The illustrations appear as if likely constructed by a combination of coloured pencils and watercolour paints. In the illustrations, the grandmother's modern home is decorated with traditional artefacts perhaps suggestive of First Nation People's desire to maintain their ancestral indigenous culture whilst living within the modern world.

      In life, death is an unavoidable reality. Which Way Should I Go? might help some young readers deal with the sadness and loneliness that invariably accompanies death.

Recommended.

Gregory Bryan teaches children's literature and literacy classes in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

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

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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