Wild Berries

Julie Flett, trans. into the Cree by Earl Cook. Simply Read (Ingram, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-897476-89-5
In a quietly perceptive story that includes a handful of key words translated into a Cree dialect, a child accompanies his grandmother into an airy, late summer forest to pick wild blueberries. "Grandma likes sweet blueberries ininimina, soft blueberries, juicy blueberries. Clarence likes big blueberries, sour blueberries, blueberries that go pop in his mouth." Throughout their excursion, Clarence and his grandmother observe woodland animals, including a spider ("kokom-minakesis") spinning its web, a fox ("makesis"), and birds ("pinesisak"). Flett (Owls See Clearly at Night), a Cree-Metis author/artist, offers loose watercolor and collage artwork that combines slate tones with red accents, including the grandmother's skirt, the birds' breasts, and a ubiquitous, low-hanging sun. Abundant white space creates a free and uncluttered landscape; the simple, concrete descriptions, reiterated through the use of Cree words ("Clarence and his grandma pick blueberries for a long time konesk"), provide a sense of composure and calm. Includes a recipe for wild blueberry jam and a pronunciation guide. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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