CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 15 . . . . March 31, 2000
One very cold winter day when Adam and Dad were at a hockey tournament and Mom had a lot of work to do, Melissa stayed with Grandma. Melissa cut picture-people out of old magazines, and built towers with Grandma's spools of thread. They baked gingersnaps, and traced their fingers on frost-feather on the windowpane. Grandma told stories about the olden days.Alison Lohan's Sundog Rescue is an appropriate picture book to read aloud on cold winter days. Melissa is a little girl with an active imagination. She can see big-eared mice in the hedges in summer and shadow wolves in the trees in winter. Only her grandmother seems to believe in Melissa's visions and tells her stories of olden days which help to chase her fears away. When grandma has an accident as they are walking back to Melissa's house, Melissa has to brave the shadow wolves to run and get help. She calls on the sun dogs, brilliant in the winter sky, to chase the wolves away. The warm relationship between child and grandmother comes across strongly in this little book. It also evokes memories of earlier winters when children rode in sleighs, bundled in furs with hot bricks at their feet.
Vladyana Krykorka's illustrations in watercolour and pencil fill every facing page in delicate colours that are appropriate for misty visions and frosty days. Her depiction of the sundogs, however, is rather strange. Even allowing for the fact that they are coloured by the child's imagination, they appear very different from the actual phenomenon, at least as we observe it in Manitoba. However, this will probably not bother young readers, and it could be a good book with which to talk about the marvels of winter with preschoolers.
Beginning readers could manage this book by themselves, or it could be a good read-aloud story for nursery to grade 2 students.
Helen Norrie is an Instructor in Children's Literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba, and the Children's book reviewer with the Winnipeg Free Press.
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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.