cover image Grandmother's Dreamcatcher

Grandmother's Dreamcatcher

Becky R. McCain. Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-3031-3

A Chippewa girl's bad dreams are kept at bay by a dreamcatcher in this straightforward story. The narrator, staying with her grandmother while her parents are busy relocating, keeps busy making Native American crafts and trekking through the countryside. Instructions for making a dreamcatcher follow the story. While the text credibly emulates a child's voice, it makes facile use of Native American culture that goes little beyond information on dreamcatchers that could be found in many activity books. Schuett's (Somewhere in the World Right Now) acrylic and gouache paintings convincingly convey tenderness among the family members, as well as the narrator's anxiety. The solid forms of her paintings, which rely heavily upon purple and green, are defined with solid black lines; her sometimes tilted perspectives add a lilt to these strong shapes. While the book raises significant issues--about the loss of traditional culture, separation from parents, moving--the resolution comes too easily. The dreamcatcher is given full credit for curing the girl's anxiety; this solution ignores the complexity of the larger problems and sells short the family support that both author and illustrator portray. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)