Starting in the 1800s and continuing into the 20th century, First Nations children were forcibly taken to government-sponsored residential schools to erase their traditional languages and cultures. This moving book tells of one such child, author Larry Loyie, and his last summer with his Cree tribe. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl, watches his grandmother make winter moccasins, and sees her kill a huge grizzly with one shot. The sensitive text and Heather Holmlund's expressive illustrations beautifully capture the joy and drama of a First Nations family's last summer together.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the story of one glorious summer, when 10 year old Lawrence spends time with his family ¿ raising an orphaned owl with his siblings, proving his patience and endurance by tricking beavers, and confronting a grizzly bear with his grandmother. Throughout the story, the routines and little details of his family's daily life provide a rich realism to Lawrence's experiences. The family's complex relationship with nature is described throughout ¿ as a source of food, entertainment, and beauty. While rumour that Lawrence and his siblings will be taken away to residential school overshadows the story, it is only in the final pages that this becomes the focus. I enjoyed tasting the richness and joy of Lawrence's life before he was taken ¿ and it made the ending very poignant.The story is autobiographical, and an epilogue briefly describes Lawrence's stay at school. There are wonderful black and white photographs showing different members of Lawrence's family. The pictures are realistic and detailed watercolours, the faces of individuals are full of personality. You can see that people's faces have been copied from photographs. The animals and plants are also drawn with keen attention to detail.The book has pictures on every page, but it divided into chapters, it is a read-aloud book, or for kids just starting chapter books.