________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 8 . . . . October 25, 2013

cover

He Who Flies by Night: The Story of Grey Owl.

Lori Punshon. Illustrated by Mike Keepness.
Regina, SK: Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2006.
32 pp. pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-894431-08-8.

Subject Headings:
Grey Owl, 1888-1938-Juvenile literature.
Conservationists-Canada-Biography-Jvenile literature.
Wildlife conservation-Saskatchewan, Northern-Juvenile literature.
Saskatchewan, Northern-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Authors, Canadian (English)-20th century-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Rachel Yaroshuk.

** /4

   

excerpt:

Grey Owl sat quietly for a moment as he scanned his young audience. The children were spellbound. With a twinkle in his eye and a gentle smile, he reminded them that each animal is special and unique just as people are and should be treated with the utmost respect.


In He Who Flies by Night: The Story of Grey Owl, author Lori Punshon shares the stories she heard about her great-grandfather, Grey Owl. The book begins with Grey Owl sitting in a school room and telling children his life story. He begins with his childhood in England and his longing to journey to Canada. When he finally reaches Canada, he marries an Ojibwa woman who gives him the name Grey Owl. Initially Grey Owl works as a trapper, but after "mothering" two orphan baby beavers, McGinnis and McGinty, Grey Owl rejects the life of a trapper, focussing on the creation of animal sanctuaries and establishing the Society of the Beaver People. Grey Owl discovers a series of wild friends. As his work with wild life progresses, the Canadian government makes a film about his relationship with beavers. Concluding the book, Grey Owl bids goodbye to the school children he is visiting.

internal art      To accompany the story, illustrator Mike Keepness composes two-page colour spreads to mirror the text. His illustrations layer grainy textures, highlighting the playfulness of Grey Owl's forest friends. In addition, Keepness consistently places an owl in each illustration, offering a fun hide-and-seek component to the book.

      While the concept of this book is intriguing, some components lacked polish. The text is unevenly distributed across pages. At times, the storyline's chronological approach seems more suited to a timeline than a narrative arc, and the artistic expression lacks the dynamism to spur the plot forward. Despite this, I appreciate the ambition to create a story to share Grey Owl's inspiring work with future generations.

Recommended.

Rachel Yaroshuk is an Auxiliary Librarian for the North Vancouver District Public Library.

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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