Saturday, June 24, 2017

How Raven Returned the Sun

How Raven Returned the Sun / written by Christal Doherty & illustrated by Carla Taylor.
Yellowknife: Yellowknife Education District, c2016.

I don't usually review picture books, but this one is a bit special. I won it from the Book Mine Set as part of the Canadian Book Challenge last month, and thought I should share a little of my impressions because of that. Also, it's National Aboriginal History Month and I haven't yet shared any of the Indigenous authors I've been reading. 

This picture book is based on a Dene legend about how Raven returned the Sun to the sky after Bear stole it - because of an argument with the people living alongside him. Raven tricked Bear very efficiently and saved the people from darkness and starvation, which was caused by a touchy, ego-driven bully stealing their source of light and life. Not like this seems applicable today or anything. 

The legend was told by Dene storyteller Dora Blondin, and is based on the story from the Sahtu region on Great Bear Lake. It was made into a picture book by author Christal Doherty, with the text in English and Dene side by side, via translator Jane Modeste. Carla Taylor's illustrations are a full page opposite each page of text, and are bright and clear. I appreciated the information on all the contributors, including photos, on the last page of the book; it makes it clear that this was a team effort. 

This is a great beginner level picture book for any educator or parent who wants to incorporate legends or trickster stories into their reading. It's told at a very understandable and young level, while older kids will be able to draw more inferences from text and images alike. 

Thanks to John at Book Mine Set for offering up this fascinating book that highlights the stories and language of a specific locality. Definitely an interesting Canadian read! 

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