CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 13. . . .November 30, 2012
Red Deer Press' new picture book, Rainbow Crow, is presented in dual languages with English and Ojibwe text. In the book, David Bouchard retells the Lenape (Delaware) legend of how Crow brought fire to the Earth to save us all from the cold and darkness of winter. This required Crow to travel to the Creator to ask for help. In doing so, however, Crow was forced to fly too close to the sun. Her beautiful rainbow plumage was scorched black. In her pain-filled cries, she also lost the use of her lovely, melodic voice as her skin and throat were burned and damaged. The Lenape legend tells us that, although Crow no longer is the colourful, beautifully melodic bird of the past, her present appearance and harsh voice remind us of her heroic deed. Indeed, they should remind us all of our debt to Crow.
David Jean's detailed, realistic illustrations were painted on traditional drum skins. As such, the circular shape of the artwork reflects the "circle of life" that Bouchard discusses in his foreword. The drum skins and Jean's brush strokes lend texture to the illustrations, giving them a lifelike, almost three-dimensional quality.
Gregory Bryan is a professor of children's literature at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.