cover image An Algonquian Year: The Year According to the Full Moon

An Algonquian Year: The Year According to the Full Moon

Michael McCurdy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-00705-9

McCurdy's finely wrought scratchboard illustrations are the backbone of this lovely picture book, which tracks the central activities of the Northeastern Algonquians month by month. He traces the cycle of the year for the confederation of tribes (from Micmac to Abenaki) that constitute the Algonquian people, from January's ""Hard Times Moon,"" when families hunker down in dome-shaped wigwams to survive the harsh weather; through March's ""Sap Moon,"" when maple syrup is harvested; June's ""Strawberry Moon,"" when old women and children ""sit on the warm ground and pluck the delicate fruit with great care""; and November's ""Beaver Moon,"" when traps set for the animals yield meat and warm clothing. The clean, elegant lines of McCurdy's informative prose echo the bold cross-hatching and linear detail of his artwork; he frames resonant black-and-white vignettes, united by a recurring lunar motif, with a brick red border. This handsome book offers a realistic glimpse of everyday life before the arrival of white settlers. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)