CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 11. . . .November 12, 2010
Short-listed for the Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration, Owls See Clearly At Night is a bilingual alphabet book, with Michif, not English, being the book's primary language as Michif words are used to illustrate the letters of the alphabet.
Concerning Michif, an "Introduction" explains that:
The Introduction goes on to explain that, while "Michif was once spoken by thousands of people across the Prairies of Canada and the Northern US," it is now an endangered language and is spoken only "in pockets of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Alberta, Montana, and by other Métis communities spread across North America." According to the Introduction, "there has been a recent resurgence in interest in learning Michif and other Métis languages." Owls See Clearly at Night can be seen as a contribution to that revival attempt. To support the book's Michif language learning aspect, a "Vowel Pronunciation Guide" and a "Consonant Pronunciation Guide" are found at the book's conclusion, along with a page labelled "Resources" which is directed at those who want to learn more about the Michif language.
Alphabet books are most often thought of as the stuff of preschoolers who are still learning the letters of the alphabet, their upper and lower case forms, and the sounds associated with the letters. Owls See Clearly At Night is clearly not such an alphabet book as it provides only the upper case form of just 24 letters of the English alphabet, and there are no sound connections between the letters and the English word(s). As can be seen in the Michif examples in the excerpt above, the focal letter of the alphabet does not necessarily appear as the first letter of the Métis word.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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.