CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 16. . . .December 18, 2009
Many First Nations children, and the adults who care for them, are eager to find books that feature boys and girls ‘just like them,’ books that reflect their daily experiences. From folklore, history and culture studies to easy readers and novels, books like this are becoming more readily available.
Chuck is a small boy from the country who finds himself, with his mother, visiting Kookum (grandmother) in the city for the first time. Having arrived late at night, he gets up to explore his new surroundings before anyone else is awake.
The air was crisp and had a strange smell,
There was a street on his left and a street to his right.
Chuck picked his left and ran out of sight.
In turn, he is thrilled and befuddled by the sights and sounds of the place, but it is not long before he is totally lost. He recalls from watching television that he should look for a policeman if he is in trouble. An empty patrol car outside –– what else? –– a doughnut shop –– has an inviting-looking back seat. Chuck climbs in and is soon asleep.
The police officers are unaware of their passenger, but when they answer a distress call from Chuck’s mother, the family members are happily reunited.
Jordan Wheeler is known for his writing for adults and his television scripts. The illustrator, Christopher Auchter, is a Haida animator and artist who has received formal art training. He was recognized for his work on Jenneli’s Dance, an Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon honour book this year.
This is an original notion, an earnest attempt to show us something new but, all told, an unsuccessful book. The story is told in rhyme, a device which does not always serve a story well, and the scansion and grammar have some problems.
For libraries needing material for First Nations users, Chuck in the City is....
Recommended with reservations.
Ellen Heaney is the Head of Children’s Services at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.
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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.